A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul [8/10]

A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds” is the new go-to book on one of the miraculous, misunderstood natural phenomena, that of birds, moulded by a relative static Earth and evolutionary pressures, regularly migrating, often over incredible distances. I have digested numerous books on bird migration over the last half decade, but this is the standout. Scott Weidensaul is not only a dedicated, self-taught ornithologist but an unstoppable journalist, and this combination, plus an impassioned, intelligent writing style, combine to produce a riveting, fascinating read. Weidensaul is especially valuable for being at the forefront of the new technologies, such as incredibly small GPS trackers and radar, enabling startling discoveries of what actually happens in the skies, years in, years out. As well as distilling the new migratory knowledge, the author takes journalistic trips to the heart of bird hunting, and to conservation efforts around the world. With the new understanding of the complexity of migratory birds’ annual cycles comes a greater appreciation for the subtleties hammered by a heating earth, and Weidensaul is brilliant at unpicking our understanding of the unmistakeable threats to so many species of migrating birds. A World on the Wing is essential, eloquent, and spirited.

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