Although I am most focused on hawks, I have also looked at birds in more general terms. Here are some of my favorite books on the subject.

Rescued Red-tailed Hawk

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

In this memoir about training a goshawk, but also about grieving her father’s death, Macdonald’s writing is crystalline and swoopy, sun-bright and misty. Macdonald captures grief, wildness, disorientation and tenderness in her intense writer’s talons. She becomes a hawk, and we go there with her. Then she pulls back. We’re human again, but different. A little wilder perhaps, or at least more cognizant of what wild is. A book with focused eyes and heart.

“And then, with a slow, luxuriant thrill, I realised that everything was different about the house I was in. It was the hawk. I shut my eyes. The hawk had filled the house with wildness as a bowl of lilies fills a house with scent. It was about to begin.”

Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk


Other References

Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead

Birkhead delves into how birds sense the world (using the five senses we’re familiar with, plus magnetic sense and emotions), and what might be going on in their minds.

Falconry: Art and Practice by Emma Ford

A wonderfully detailed how-to guide for falconry

Falcon Fever: A Falconer in the Twenty-First Century by Tim Gallagher

Gallagher tells a good yarn with a compelling mixture of falcon facts and autobiographical stories, especially in the first half of the book.

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson

Traces the latest (in 2015) developments in our understanding of how feathers evolved, how they’re structured and how they function. Miraculous!


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