The Wind Masters: The Lives of North American Birds of Prey

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Even people with little interest in birds will stop in their tracks at the sight of a hawk soaring overhead or a falcon perched on a window ledge. Birds of prey have an aura that few other creatures have. In the acclaimed Hawks in Flight, Pete Dunne showed what birds of prey look like. In The Wind Masters, he shows what it is like to be a bird of prey. He takes us inside the lives and minds of all thirty-four species of diurnal raptors found in North America — hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures, the ...

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Overview

Even people with little interest in birds will stop in their tracks at the sight of a hawk soaring overhead or a falcon perched on a window ledge. Birds of prey have an aura that few other creatures have. In the acclaimed Hawks in Flight, Pete Dunne showed what birds of prey look like. In The Wind Masters, he shows what it is like to be a bird of prey. He takes us inside the lives and minds of all thirty-four species of diurnal raptors found in North America — hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures, the osprey, and the harrier — and shows us how each bird sees the world, hunts its prey, finds and courts its mate, rears its young, grows up, grows old, and dies.
Vividly written, and beautifully illustrated by David Sibley, The Wind Masters is a brilliant work of narrative natural history in the tradition of Peter Matthiessen's The Wind Birds and Barry Lopez's Of Wolves and Men.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What distinguishes birds of prey from other birds is that they exhibit so many modes of flight; they have mastered the wind in every conceivable manner, the author points out. Dunne introduces 34 species of diurnal raptors-kites, vultures, falcons, eagles, hawks, harriers and ospreys. He presents his material anecdotally in fictional settings that include all the significant factors of raptor life. This approach is effective for most subjects, but a wisecracking raven in his story of a lead-poisoned, dying golden eagle seems inappropriate. Generally, Dunne attempts to convey what it is like to be a bird of prey, especially when it is airborne. There are dramatic stories: a Peregrine falcon defending her nest from a wolverine, a rough-leffed hawk struggling offshore. Dunne's vivid descriptions are matched by Sibley's fine illustrations. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Through a combination of expository writing and fictional narrative, Dunne (The Feather Quest, LJ 1/92) offers basic data on the life cycles of the breeding eagles, hawks, falcons, and vultures of the United States and Canada. Each of the 33 species is given its own chapter in which a brief episode in the life of an individual bird, pair, or brood exemplifies the essence of the species. Other animals, including humans, often play a role, if only as prey. Dunne's natural history is sound and his writing style appealing, but his tendency to attribute human emotions to birds may put off some readers; the blend of fact and fiction doesn't always succeed. While this is not an essential purchase, it will find readers in public libraries.-Paul B. Cors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie
Booknews
Prominent birder Pete Dunne provides vivid, fictionalized accounts of how each of 33 North American raptors sees the world, hunts prey, finds and courts a mate, rears young, grows up, and dies. B&w illustrations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395652350
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

PETE DUNNE is the author of many books, including Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion, Pete Dunne on Bird Watching, and most recently Prairie Spring, the first in a four-book series on the seasons. He is the vice president of the New Jersey Audubon Society and director of its Cape May Bird Observatory.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
1 Gyrfalcon 1
2 Northern Goshawk 8
3 Short-Tailed Hawk 14
4 Turkey Vulture 20
5 Bald Eagle 27
6 Merlin 36
7 Crested Caracara 42
8 Hook-Billed Kite 50
9 White-Tailed Hawk 56
10 Red-Tailed Hawk 62
11 Sharp-Shinned Hawk 70
12 Red-Shouldered Hawk 80
13 Harris' Hawk 88
14 Black Vulture 95
15 Northern Harrier 103
16 Peregrine Falcon 111
17 Swainson's Hawk 121
18 Snail Kite 128
19 Ferruginous Hawk 135
20 Gray Hawk 142
21 White-Tailed Kite 148
22 American Kestrel 156
23 Prairie Falcon 163
24 Common Black-Hawk 171
25 Osprey 178
26 Zone-Tailed Hawk 188
27 American Swallow-Tailed Kite 194
28 Mississippi Kite 202
29 Broad-Winged Hawk 209
30 Cooper's Hawk 219
31 Rough-Legged Hawk 226
32 Golden Eagle 236
33 California Condor 248
Bibliography 259
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