Return of the Falcons: A Reading List for Bird Brains

April 4, 2016

200706081008As you well and truly know (and as I reported at the beginning of this blog lo these many months ago) Evanston Public Library plays host to nesting peregrine falcons every single year.  Well this year they’re back, baby!  Nona and Squawker have set up shop on one of the columns outside the library where so far they’ve been seen sitting on up to three eggs (it might be four as of this post).  My days are now filled with the sight of them nesting and occasionally flying in with a big fat pigeon for dinner.  [FYI: They tend to eat them not in the nest but either across the street from the library or in the eaves of the columns.]

Now aside from being the fastest animals on earth (and this is true), peregrine falcons are just generally fascinating.  But how much do you really know about them?  Announcing the official Peregrine Falcon Reading List!  With each and every one of these books now available here at Evanston Public Library:

For the Adults

On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth With the Peregrine Falcon

 On the Wing

Where do Nona and Squawker go when they aren’t in Evanston?  “Alan Tennant, a passionate observer of nature, recounts his all-out effort to radio-track the transcontinental migration of the peregrine falcon–an investigation no one before him had ever taken to such lengths.” Place the book on reserve here.

Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City

Urban Nature

Daniel Tobin’s poem is to the peregrine falcons of NYC but that won’t make you enjoy this collection any less.  Be sure to place your copy on reserve here.

Peregrine by William Bayer


Considering the fact that peregrine falcons are bloodthirsty killers (raptors tend to be) perhaps it just makes sense to put them in a murder mystery.  Even better, the killer in this book “terrorizes New York with a lethal peregrine falcon.”  The quickie description reads, “Circling high over Rockefeller Center is a peregrine falcon, the most awesome of the flying predators. She awaits a signal from her falconer. It is given: the bird attacks, plummeting from the sky at nearly 200 miles an hour, striking a young woman and killing her instantly. So begins Peregrine, a chilling tale of obsession.”  Place the book on reserve here.

Return of the Peregrine : A North American Saga of Tenacity and Teamwork by editors Tom J. Cade and William Burnham

Return Peregrine

One review of this book began by saying, “There are few success stories in the recovery of endangered species, and the return of the peregrine falcon to North American skies is one of the best.” In this book you will find the most comprehensive history of the massive efforts to save our falcons.  A beautiful coffee table book, be sure to place your copy on reserve here.

The Rites of Autumn : A Falconer’s Journey Across the American West by Dan O’Brien
Rites of Autumn
Just the story of a man, his two dogs, and his young peregrine falcon.  A true story, no less.  This is one for you outdoorsy types. Place your copy on reserve here.

For the Kids

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin


Turns out, it was DDT that was significantly responsible for the downturn in the number of peregrine falcons in the wild.  This book chronicles how most of the eggs laid by falcons in the past were lost. This book covers the story of how scientists brought the birds back from near extinction.  Reserve a copy here.

Peregrine Falcon: Dive, Dive, Dive! by Natalie Lunis


Learn about where the peregrine falcon lives, how it hunts, and the special ways its body helps it reach its record-breaking speeds. Place it on reserve here.

Frightful’s Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Frightful's Mountain

From the author of Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain comes a book series where the heroine is a falcon!  Place a reserve on the book here. And once you’re done reading this you can follow up with the sequels Frightful’s Daughter and Frightful’s Daughter meets the Baron Weasel.

The Falcon’s Feathers by Ron Roy

Falcon's Feathers

This is part of the early chapter series A-Z Mysteries.  The premise? “Josh and his two friends look for the person who stole a peregrine falcon from its nest.”  I find this plot particularly terrifying.  I mean, have you seen the claws on those babies?  Place a copy on reserve here.

What’s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah? by Robert E.Wells


You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.  Put the book on reserve here.

Falcons Nest on Skyscrapers by Priscilla Belz Jenkins


Or libraries for that matter. Put the book on reserve here.

For the Teens

Wildwing by Emily Whitman


And what falcon booklist could be complete without a little falconry on the side?  In this time traveling tale, a girl is sent back to 13th-century England where she is mistaken for a Lady engaged to a local lord.  Naturally she falls in love with a falconer’s son instead.  Consider it Outlander for teens. Place it on reserve here.


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