B&N Audiobooks Subscription = SAVINGS. Sign Up Today for a Free Book!
Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America

Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America

by Michael Edmonds


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, June 29


A dynamic account of ornithological history in America’s heartland.    

Today, more than fifty million Americans traipse through wetlands at dawn, endure clouds of mosquitoes, and brave freezing autumn winds just to catch a glimpse of a bird. The human desire to connect with winged creatures defies age and generation. In the Midwest, humans and birds have lived together for more than twelve thousand years. Taking Flight explores how and why people have worshipped, feared, studied, hunted, eaten, and protected the birds that surrounded them.

Author and birder Michael Edmonds has combed archaeological reports, missionaries’ journals, travelers’ letters, early scientific treatises, the memoirs of American Indian elders, and the folklore of hunters, farmers, and formerly enslaved people throughout the Midwest to reveal how our ancestors thought about the very same birds we see today. Whether you’re a casual bird-watcher, a hard-core life-lister, or simply someone who loves the outdoors, you’ll look at birds differently after reading this book.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870208362
Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Edition description: 1
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Edmonds has been a recreational birder for three decades. He is the author of two award-winning books from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Out of the Northwoods and Risking Everything, and has written several articles for the Wisconsin Magazine of History and other journals. He graduated from Harvard University in 1976, joined the Wisconsin Historical Society staff in 1982, and has taught at the University of Wisconsin since 1986. 

Table of Contents

1 Thinking about Birds 1

2 Bones, Stones, Mounds, and Magic 7

3 Sun Kings, Shamans, and Thunderbirds 33

4 The Great Spirit Had Blessed Them 57

5 Missionaries, Monsters, and Miracles 85

6 Soldiers, Statesmen, and Science 109

7 Fledgling Ornithologists 131

8 Ahonques, Timber-Doodles, and Shitquicks 161

9 Feathers, Fetishes, and Fables 177

10 The Great Extermination 197

11 Thinking about People 225

Sources and Acknowledgments 229

Notes 253

Index 281

Customer Reviews