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A World on the Wing Reviews

A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul

A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds

Scott Weidensaul

4.83 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Picador
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 18 Mar 2021
ISBN: 9781509841035

Written from the cutting edge of research into bird migration, A World on the Wing is a landmark work of nature writing that will delight fans of Isabella Tree, Robert Macfarlane and Adam Nicolson.

5 stars out of 5
Christian Cooper
30 Mar 2021

"... (a) gripping journey alongside the world’s feathered wanderers and the people who study them"

At its best, “A World on the Wing” brims with spectacle: the silhouettes of a hundred thousand Amur falcons flying past the moon, ten thousand Swainson’s hawks soaring against the setting sun before roosting together in eucalyptus trees, waves of colorful warblers moving along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec in one of the greatest shows on Earth — shows that were once the norm, and now are increasingly rare.

The passion Weidensaul brings to these scenes is personal. “A World on the Wing” finds some of its most moving moments early on, when he charts the development of his own interest in birds. As he describes watching the great movements of raptors over Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, “fly-fishing in the air” to lure a golden eagle into his bander’s mist net, or the simple pleasure of celebrating the raucous arrival of Canada geese every spring over his childhood home... As the birds flit through these pages, but with ever less frequency through our lives, we can only hope that birders and non-birders alike take inspiration and a call to action from “A World on the Wing.” This is the kind of book we’ve been waiting for.


5 stars out of 5
Ashish Ghadiali
30 Mar 2021

"A master storyteller who is also profoundly involved in scientific ornithology"

I’m not a birder, but Weidensaul persuades me that I could be, and that a greater appreciation of the movement and behaviour of migratory birds might bring me into closer contact with what it means to be a living thing on Earth. How is it that these animals, even at a first attempt, can navigate a hemisphere with such unreal precision?... For all the doom he describes, however, Weidensaul has no real gift for tragedy. Each one of his stories, from the rehabilitation of Amur falcons in north-eastern India to the adaptation of Eurasian reed warblers in the face of rising global temperatures, emerges as a celebration of positive human behaviour: patient observation, indefatigable problem-solving and conviviality, which, like the routes of the birds he describes, extends far beyond the borders of our nation states, connecting researchers, conservationists and local communities around the world in the task of reckoning with our abundance before it’s too late.

4 stars out of 5
13 Mar 2021

"Scott Weidensaul describes some extraordinary feats of endurance"

A World on the Wing is a superb globe-trotting survey of avian restlessness that reaches one core conclusion. Migrants may seem like here-today-gone-tomorrow nomads but they are really inhabitants of a single place and one living system, on which they and humans depend equally: the entire Earth.