Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration


Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Publish Date
6.35 X 9.26 X 1.13 inches | 1.02 pounds

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About the Author

Rebecca Heisman is a science writer based in eastern Washington who loves nerding out about birds. She's contributed to publications including Audubon, Sierra, Hakai Magazine, bioGraphic, Living Bird (the magazine of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), and Bird Conservation (the magazine of the American Bird Conservancy), and has worked for the American Ornithological Society (AOS), the world's largest professional organization for bird scientists.


"Illuminating...Flight Paths does what only the best science books do: It adds to our knowledge of the world without diminishing its wonder." -- Wall Street Journal

"Science writer Rebecca Heisman's contribution to this literature, however, focuses not on globe-girdling avians, but on the scientists who advanced our understanding of their wondrous behavior... Heisman animates technical details with lively interviews and visits to search labs. A birder herself, she tries spotting silhouettes against the Moon, visits banding stations, and rises early to take part in nationwide bird counts. With many species in steep decline, the task of tracing migration patterns takes on a renewed importance." -- Natural History magazine

"Heisman...creates a skillful and accessible narrative about how we research and understand bird migration, from the first birds ever to be banded to current methodologies...A fascinating treat for avid bird-watchers." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Science writer Heisman debuts with a winning examination of the seasonal movements of birds, tracing how scientific understanding of bird migration has evolved and detailing the technologies that ornithologists employ to study them today...Heisman pulls off the impressive feat of making technical discussions of genome sequencing and isotope analysis accessible, and the profiles offer revealing glimpses into the process and production of scientific knowledge. Admirers of Scott Weidensaul's A World on the Wing will find this a treat." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Flight Paths is a vital wake-up call to birders, ornithological societies and governments" -- New Scientist

"It's amazing how much effort it has taken to understand that birds migrate and where to. The super-dedicated men and women who conduct these studies are celebrated here by Rebecca Heisman in a fascinating account of discovery." -- Frans de Waal, author of Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist

"Flight Paths is a delight, and the ground-breaking bird migration scientists whom Rebecca Heisman profiles in this fascinating book are a wonderfully unconventional lot. Heisman is the ideal guide to their world--curious, chatty, and adept at making sometimes complex research easily understandable. I can't recommend it highly enough." -- Scott Weidensaul Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Living on the Wind and A World on the Wing

"Flight Paths reads like a cross between a great detective story and riveting science fiction, except that the science here is all fact. Migratory birds span the globe through incredible feats of navigation and endurance, and the researchers who have uncovered their secrets are just as fascinating as the birds themselves." -- Kenn Kaufman, author of the Kaufman Field Guide series, Kingbird Highway, and A Season on the Wind

"This is a must-have book for bird nerds. Heisman sends you aloft on warbler wings for an unforgettable journey through the world of avian migration. You'll meet beguiling birds and the people who study them, and you'll learn how bird-tracking technology has improved so that once-hazy maps now click into focus. It's an enthralling trip that'll leave you feeling inspired and connected." -- Rosemary Mosco, award-winning nature cartoonist, bird artist, and science book author