Scott Weidensaul, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, expert naturalist and birder, gives us an exhilarating exploration of the science and wonder of global bird migration. In the past two decades, our understanding of the navigational and physiological feats of migration has exploded.
Bird migration entails almost unfathomable endurance, like a sparrow-sized sandpiper that will fly nonstop from Canada to Venezuela—the equivalent of running 126 consecutive marathons without food, water, or rest. It avoids dehydration by "drinking" moisture from its own muscles and organs, while orienting itself using the earth’s magnetic field. Some birds cross the Pacific Ocean in nine days of nonstop flight, and rest by putting half their brains to sleep for a few seconds at a time, alternating sides. These and other revelations convey both the wonder of bird migration and its global sweep, from the mudflats of the Yellow Sea in China to the mountains of northeastern India to the dusty hills of southern Cyprus.
This breathtaking work of nature writing also introduces readers to the scientists, researchers, and bird lovers trying to preserve global migratory patterns in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges.