I didn’t want this book to end. Really, I didn’t. Part natural history, part evolutionary biology, part adventure epic, all fascinating. Science, philosophy, history, biography. This book satisfied on so many levels. I just soaked it up.
Jonathan Meiburg offers us a riveting portrait of these fascinating birds – genus caracara. Intelligent and resourceful, historically maligned by Europeans when first encountered though revered by native cultures, they are indeed remarkable. He fleshes out their story through genetics, mythology, personal encounters in various landscapes, and through the eyes and stories of those with long histories of encounters with these birds. It is just a stunning exploration. A musician by trade, Meiburg is a gifted writer. Many times I paused to jot down a line that resonated for me. Many times I found myself pausing, mid phrase, to let something hum inside me. I also found my curiosity tweaked again and again, stopping to do a quick search and gather more information on a place or critter or person he mentioned.
I am, admittedly, a natural history geek, having spent many hours over many years poring over the writing of people who spend a lot of time out there. William Beebe, Barry Lopez, Craig Childs, Robert Macfarlane, Dave Bohn, are some favorites. I am also a bird geek, having had some surprisingly intimate encounters with raptors in the wild. So, though I may be a bit biased I do believe the faceted lens through which Meiburg explores his subject opens it to anyone with any curiosity about the living, vital, natural world.