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 birds 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 peregrines ...Read MoreIn this extraordinary naturalist adventure saga, Alan Tennant, a passionate student of wildlife and of the peregrine falcon in particular, endeavours to radio-track the birds 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 peregrines 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 septuagenarian Second World War vet and former stunt pilot who becomes Tennants partner in falcon-chasing when they borrow some US Army radio-tracking equipment and set off after a bird Alan has managed to trap and tag with a feather-mounted transmitter. George, who trusts his instincts more 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 others throats) in the race to keep their birds in view and their rattletrap Cessna gassed up and running. But 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.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-08-02 Naturalist Tennant (The Guadalupe Mountains of Texas) describes his efforts to trail peregrine falcons on their epic migratory flights from the Caribbean to the Arctic in a detailed, impassioned account that's part nature study and part gonzo travelogue. After radio-tagging a young peregrine off the coast of Texas, Tennant teams up with George Vose, a former WWII combat flight instructor, to follow the bird on its spring migration north. Plenty of excitement run-ins with Canadian Mounties, trouble with Vose's battered plane follows as the men track their "guiding angel," the bird they name Amelia. After a trip to the peregrine's Alaskan breeding grounds, Tennant and Vose follow three new peregrines on the fall migration down the coast of Mexico and Central America, where their adventures include going into a free-fall over the Caribbean Ocean and being mistaken for DEA agents. Tennant pauses to consider nearly every creature he encounters along the way, from polar bear to insect, describing its connection to the land, and, in the inevitable bittersweet turn, revealing the environmental degradation that threatens its survival. With a nature-lover's deep concern rather than an ideologue's rhetoric, Tennant emphasizes the connection between man and beast, reflecting as well on his own need for migration and adventure. 8-page color insert not seen by PW. Agent, David McCormick. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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