The Man Who Flies with Birds

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Cindy K. Schofield
Yossi Leshem is on mission to protect birds and promote peace in the Middle East and he silently soars though the sky working toward both goals. A world famous ornithologist, Leshem has established that the sky over the Middle East serves as a main migratory route for over 500 million birds each year. His research has identified major airways that become so crowded with birds at certain times of year that it is unsafe for planes to fly. His work has led to international agreements and flight regulations that have cut bird strikes on planes by seventy-six percent—saving the lives of people and birds. Since birds know no boundaries and have no awareness of the political divisions in the territories they fly over, Leshem thought it appropriate to develop research and educational programs that involve many countries along the major migratory paths. He and his colleagues have teamed with eco-tourism leaders to set up bird watching programs and centers with the hope of inspiring, in others, Leshem's own dream of safe guarding birds around the world. Magnificent photos complement the rich text and short boxed highlights add related content to the main story. The story celebrates both the work of Yossi Leshem and inspires consideration of the relationship between humans and the natural world. Reviewer: Cindy K. Schofield
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—At age 25, as a young biologist with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Leshem knew that he wanted to become a raptor expert. When he earned his Ph.D. in ornithology, he decided to study the dangers that the 35 species of raptors that travel through Israel encounter during migration. He approached the Israeli Air Force, promising that, with sufficient funding, he could map the migration routes of large birds and provide up-to-the minute reports of where they were flying, thereby eliminating some of the thousands of bird strikes suffered by Air Force planes—some of them worth as much as five million dollars. The study of birds' migration; their detection of the Earth's magnetic fields; their use of thermals to save energy; and the physics of flying involved hundreds of people in 17 countries and a network of observation stations, radar, and aircraft. The information helped the Israeli Air Force to drastically lower the number of bird strikes, saving lives and aircraft. Leshem's fascinating life, his undaunted determination to spread awareness of birds and wildlife protection, and his amazing accomplishments are a clear indication that anything is possible. The book is heavily illustrated with good-quality color photos, maps, and diagrams, many of them captioned with incredible facts about wildlife and migration. This inspiring title on a most timely topic will appeal to those who are fascinated with wildlife, Earth science, and technology.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Over a long career, Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem has used migration studies to reduce bird/plane collisions, substituted birds for pesticides to control rodents, established feeding stations and bird-watching areas, organized the election of an Israeli national bird and promoted international cooperation. This professional biography concentrates on his early work on bird migration, supported by the Israeli military because of its connections to flight safety, but includes more recent activities as well. Both topically and chronologically organized, the text fluctuates between description and explanation. Chapter headings reveal the breadth of coverage-migration, the physics of flying, CSI for birds, balancing nature and the economy and saving the birds of the world-but there is no table of contents. Sidebars add information and U.S. connections, even including the January 2009 emergency landing in the Hudson River of a plane that had encountered a goose. Extensively illustrated with color photographs, this is more an introduction to a field than to a person, probably most appealing to middle-school readers already curious about birds. (further reading, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822576433
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Israel Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,005,637
  • Age range: 10 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What is an "ornithologist"?

    Could you tell someone what an "ornithologist" is? If you said a scientist who studies birds, you'd be right! This book follows the life and work of Dr. Yossi Leshem, one of Israel's best known ornithologists. When he was child, his mother instilled in him a love of nature and he always dreamed of flying with the birds. However, poor eyesight kept him from his goal of becoming a pilot with the air force, so after high school he joined the army and then studied zoology and genetics in college. However, he never lost his fascination with birds. His military background and his interest in birds placed him in a unique situation to help work on trying to solve an important problem. One of the greatest threats faced by military pilots was bird strikes. As a Ph. D. candidate, Yossi needed a research project, and he decided to study the migration of raptors. This led him to consider the impact of migrating birds on aviation. Could he find out anything that would assist in both saving the pilots and protecting the birds? And if he did, would he be able to do anything about it? In addition to chronicling the efforts of Leshem and those who have been assisting him, The Man Who Flies with Birds also has lots of useful information about the different species of birds which live in or migrate over Israel, the migration patterns of birds, and the mechanics of bird flight, as well as an explanation of thermals and a description of the Great Rift Valley of which Israel is a part. A book such as this will acquaint young readers with the importance of birds and also encourage them to do what they can to ensure the survival of birds. In the back there are a couple of pages with lists of books, websites, and birding organizations for further research. Also, advanced readers can learn more about Dr. Leshem's activities in a book for adults entitled Flying with the Birds which he co-authored with Ofer Bahat.

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