PDF/EPUB publitags.co ´ On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine

In this extraordinary naturalist adventure saga Alan Tennant a passionate student of wildlife and of the peregrine falcon in particular endeavours to radio track the bird's transcontinental migration something no one before him had ever attempted At the time of his flight in the mid 1980s researchers were still unsure of the peregrine's transcontinental path chicks hatched in the Arctic have hardly been taught how to fly and kill their food when they make their first migration alone following some mysterious internal call to go south On The Wing which begins on the windswept flats of the Texas barrier islands ferries us across multiple continents and is loaded with historical and scientific lore and rich characters Chief among them is George Vose the septugenarian Second World War vet and former stunt pilot who becomes Tennant's partner in falcon chasing when they borrow some US Army radio tracking euipment and set off after a bird Alan has managed to trap and tag with a feather mounted transmitter George who trusts his instincts than his instruments is as obsessed with the mystery of flight as Tennant is and the book charts the story of their friendship As they journey to the Arctic following their first bird and then way down South through Mexico and into Belize nearly losing their lives running foul of the law and at times at each other's throats in the race to keep their birds in view and their rattletrap Cessna gassed up and runningBut the falcons dominate this odyssey these majestic birds the icons of pharaohs oriental emperors and European nobility whose fierce mien speed at the kill and solitary habits have fired the human imagination for centuries In this mesmerising narrative Alan Tennant offers us an unforgettable and moving tale that speaks to all our dreams of flight

10 thoughts on “On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon

  1. says:

    On the Wing drew me in I was intrigued by the author following peregrine falcons from his Cessna and investigating their migration patterns from Texas to the Arctic to the Caribbean On the Wing is an incredible adventure I can appreciate Tennant's obsession with tracking the peregrine; however as the story shifted from the peregrine to Tennant's own life I began to lose some interest I just preferred the focus on the falcons

  2. says:

    This memoir features flying falcons geography and a look at human caused destruction of nature During the 1980s Alan was studying falcons They had been known as flying from Alaska to winter in Texas but nobody knew where Creatures of trees and cliffs they seemed to vanish in Texas Then one tracker thought of going out on a vast tidal flat marsh than sand and there were the peregrines females and tiercels smaller males busily catching migrating shore birds which were tired and had no cover Alan managed to catch and radio tag a few and enlisted a crusty veteran pilot George Vose to help Alan follow them north with his battered small plane The first falcon takes us north across the mountain ridges to Canada oops international airspace and Alaska Alan tries to explain his fascination and lengthy absence to his girlfriend Then the second season begins in which Alan and Vose follow a falcon or three south for winter across the rainforest of Mexico Central America Belize Oops international airspace As well as marvelling at the masters of the air and their prey and finding welcomes among simply living people or dangers from drug growers Alan imparts the knowledge of his field DDT was found to be passing up the food chain through insects to small birds and accumulating in falcons so their eggs could not hatch The insecticide was eventually banned in America but is still in the ecosystem; along with parauat it was found as standard by Alan and Vose in the lands south of the border Just a couple of poisoned small birds would kill a falcon Oil sludge is another huge hazard in Mexico And Alan is told that in Argentina the woods are all cleared to leave wheat fields so falcons perch on the trees planted to shelter estancia buildings; the ranch hands take pot shots at them No wonder the top predator bird population has crashed and few of each year's brood returns Conservation and breeding efforts are described Alan was shocked sad and disappointed when his last falcon headed arrow straight out over the Gulf of Mexico because he knew that this healthy bird could not make it all the way across the water Falcons can't fly all that way as they don't store fat and have to migrate around by land it was assumed But he wasn't seeing any on land He thought his bird was doomed And the small plane fuel tanks would not let him follow Once Alan tries to explain his fascination and lengthy absence to his girlfriend The afterword tells us where the bird probably went like the Texan flats Not so daft after all Today birds are tracked by satellite but this flight memoir gives a real feeling of what it's like to fly through a cloud layer get buffeted by a storm spot perching places for the night and cover completely unknown landscapes I strongly recommend the read for people interested in nature or small planes

  3. says:

    Hard to believe there is a book about birds that I read and felt Meh about But this is oneI had a really hard time even getting into the book It took me three separate attempts to get through it After the second failed attempt I actually placed it in a box to donate but then removed itWhat prompted me to finally finish it this time was a reading challenge I'm involved in read 12 books about birds or birding in 12 monthsIt just didn't grab me Obviously There were parts I enjoyed like the section on their adventures in Belize because I would have been there not much before the author and his pilot buddy visited there I also enjoyed the section where he's in Alaska camping and birdingSome of the author's observations during his pursuit of falcons did reiterate to me how badly we trash the environmentHowever there were long stretches of the book in which I felt just bored I probably would only have given it a rating of 25 if half stars were permitted But it had to be 2 or 3 so 3 it was

  4. says:

    In some cases there are no obvious economic reasons for the conservation of a species but an author such as Alan Tennant in his book the national bestseller On The Wing or To The Edge Of The Earth With The Peregrine Falcon Anchor Books Random House 2005 does such a thorough job of describing the tenacity and beautifully wild nature of the creature it is impossible to walk away and see the peregrine falcon pass into oblivion In Tennant's book the species is the subject of a uest told in the form of a passionate humorous epic with many interesting and informative digressions His book convinces mankind to work to save a bird that has captured the minds and hearts of millions throughout the course of history

  5. says:

    This was difficult to get into and most of the first third was boring I almost gave up but then it started improving and it also successfully incorporated some of the science behind peregrine falcon behavior I found the discussion offshore drilling platform ornithology especially interesting It's a shame they couldn't have joined an ornithological expedition instead of trying to do everything by themselves and running into so much trouble in Central America I could have done without some of the relationship drama but this was at least as much uest narrative as science so it wasn't completely out of place

  6. says:

    It's difficult to balance what I know of the real life people involved and their dealings legal or not in birds or prey and falconry with what is an interesting story What I know of many of the people mentioned isn't respectable so it's hard to root for themThe writing draws me back to Jack Kerouac without the beat a great adventure story and due to it being true it doesn't wrap up in nice bows the way some reviewers would wantWorking with the most on the law side of people in falconry in existence puts me at odds with the story I found myself torn between rooting for the author and feeling uncomfortable for enjoying the storyDo with that what you will haha

  7. says:

    A fascinating story of tracking peregrine falcons from the Alaska tundra to their winter nesting places somewhere in Central America this story is part natural adventure and part aviation adventure In the mid 1980s Tennant and pilot George Vose follow several transmitter attached peregrine falcons with his small Skyhawk 469 airplaneThis book is not a fast read; take the time to savor the scenery and the situations; but it’s a good read

  8. says:

    If you’re interested in most anything peregrine then you’ll find this uite worthwhile Beyond the peregrine connection there is a really great memoir here if only it’d had a better editing It was mostly interesting but suffers from disjointed presentation and some moments of unnecessary devolution in the latter half

  9. says:

    The one phrase rundown a well written hell of a rideThis like Sunk Without a Sound was a book I picked up in a VC at a national park this time Big Bend Alan Tennant is a Texas based writer whose numerous otherworks include a field guide to snakes Someone from my old stomping ground who likes snakes? I thought That was rare enough to warrant further investigationI found the book to a real page turner It details the author’s obsession with following several radio tagged peregrine falcons from Alaska to central America Alan and his barnstorming pilot George pull off some amazing exploits in this tale including impersonating Texas DPS state troopers being mistaken for DEA agents stealing US Army telemetry gear and sneaking across international borders in a small plane with a broken radio I was unable to ascertain exactly when these events occurred but my suspicion was the late 80s to early 90s since he probably had to wait to publish until the statutes of limitation had expired on some of his feats Part of the fun of reading about their deeds of daring do was realizing how special those adventures really were; many of the things Alan and George did in the air will never again happen in our post 911 world For me it was also very entertaining to fly along with Alan and George to long forgotten places from my adolescence I wonder if I’ll ever read another book mentioning Poteet Texas it’s all about the strawberries in PoteetI highly recommend this book even if you didn’t have the good fortune to grow up in Texas it’s a frigging joke just grin and don’t give me a bunch of crap I think private pilots would really enjoy the aerial aspects and I’ve recommended it to some with whom I’ve flown including my dad who plied the Texas skies Basically the story is wonderful and Tennant is a gifted writer

  10. says:

    Whew Finally finished this one up It was a fascinating read but not a uick one that's for certain I never stopped being interested; the book never dragged for me it just took a long time to get through for some reason Tennant is very obviously incredibly knowledgeable about birds especially falcons and I learned a huge amount I felt he also really captured the uniue personality of his pilot Oddly though there were only a few moments in the book where his deep love for the birds they were following and the joys and disappointments of their journey really shone through for me Most of the time I felt I was travelling along with a clinical scientist not an emotionally involved layman Definitely a good read nonetheless