Five Awe-Inspiring Pastoral Books About Birds Of Prey

While my passion is for crime fiction, I also love reading a host of other books from a variety of genres. Whether it’s autobiographies or even classics, I love a lot of different books.

Another genre that I love is pastoral books about nature. One of the topics that I enjoy is birds of prey. Birds of prey have a unique bond with humans: they can’t be domesticated like other animals, but instead they collaborate with us to give themselves security and improve their hunting prowess.

Whether its hawks, falcons or even owls, I’ve read many books about different birds of prey and how they affect the people who fly them.

If you want to find an amazing book about birds of prey to help you to learn more about these majestic birds, then this is the ideal list for you.

5. Wesley: The Story of a Remarkable Owl: Written by biologist and bird expert Stacey O’Brien, this true story discusses her bond with Wesley, a young barn owl with damage to his wing. With the bird unable to return to the wild or behave like a normal owl, he stands little chance of survival. O’Brien decides that she wants to help the little bird to flourish, and so she takes him into her home. Over the proceeding 19 years, she and Wesley form a beautiful bond. As well as her insight into the lives of barn owls, the book also discusses a variety of other birds and shares a lot of interesting facts about wildlife which are often unknown or unconsidered by modern people with busy lives. After all, while most of love nature and find it interesting, we don’t often connect with it on a deep level. Thanks to O’Brien and this intriguing book, we’re able to learn more about the secret lives of birds, including owls like Wesley. He’s a funny and personable little guy, and his relationship with the writer is heartbreakingly wonderful and helps to save both of their lives and improve them for the better.

4. A Rage for Falcons: An Alliance Between Man and Bird: Introduced by Helen MacDonald and beautifully illustrated by Jonathan Wilde, Stephen Bodio’s book is an incredible and deeply passionate insight into the lives of those who fly and hunt with birds of prey. Drawing on the history of flying these majestic birds, as well as anecdotes from Bodio’s long experience with birds of prey, the writer creates a unique insight into the complex and diverse world of falconry. The book is both insightful and informative, as well as being accessible to even those of us who’ve never owned a bird of prey or had the experience of hunting with it in the wild. Combining this unforgettable prose with Wilde’s stunning images, Bodio offers an unforgettable reading experience and the chance for readers to truly immerse ourselves in the historical and breath taking world of falconry. You’ll learn about a range of falconry traditions and be fascinated by the amazing stories that the writer has to tell if you check out this gripping book.

3. The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature’s Most Elusive Birds: Combining her passion for nature with her interest in owls, Leigh Calvez takes readers on a tour of the world’s owl population and uncovers unique facts about these elusive birds. As they spend most of the day asleep, and then wake at night, they aren’t often seen by many people, and those who do spot them often see only a fleeting glimpse. By studying owls closely and watching them in both their natural habitat and captivity, Calvez is able to offer a fascinating insight into the lives and personalities of these stunning birds. As well as facts on how owls lives and their natural lives, the writer also offers an insight into the history of our relationships to owls, and how the birds have crept into our mythology and popular cultures. If you’re a fan of birds and want to learn more about owls without spending hours studying their habits in the dead of night, then you should definitely read this bestselling book.

2. Fingers In The Sparkle Jar: Chris Packham is an engaging TV presenter and expert in nature. In this memoir/ pastoral book about training a kestrel, he shares his boyhood experiences training a kestrel that he caught as a young boy. Fingers In The Sparkle Jarshares his connection to the kestrel and how it helped him come to terms with his learning difficulties, his trouble communicating with others and his family’s struggles. The result is a book that is informative and teaches you a lot about nature and birds of prey, as well as mental wellbeing and childhood challenges. If you’re a fan of Packham, then you’ll want to read this book just to find out more about him and his incredible life and unique childhood. Even if you’ve not really heard much about him before, you’ll want to read this book just to get more of an understanding about the incredible bond between humans and animals.

1. H Is For Hawk: Helen Macdonald’s jaw-dropping book about her struggle to tame and hunt with a young Goshawk is a great read for anyone who’s new to reading about birds of prey. If you’re not yet deeply passionate about these magnificent raptors and don’t know much about them, then H Is For Hawk is an amazing introduction. Macdonald uses her personal experiences training Mable, her Goshawk, and her knowledge of the history of taming and flying falcons, to offer an informative book that’s accessible to everyone. By entwining her experiences with poor mental health and grief following her father’s death with her struggle to train her hawk, the writer makes her challenges seem understandable to everyone, even if you’ve never actually had to train a Goshawk with limited experience and few resources. While Macdonald has experience in training some other birds, she’d not worked with a Goshawk before and was determined to make it work, even though the experience was harrowing and challenging. So, even if you’re not a massive pastoral fan and you think birds of prey are pretty but not that interesting, then I urge you to read this phenomenal book.

Vesper Flights Review: A Masterful Book About The Wonders Of The Natural World

A couple of weeks ago, I randomly realised that it’s been a long time since I posted any pastoral content on this blog.

That’s a real shame, because I love the pastoral genre and I read a lot of it, so I thought I’d amend this by reviewing an amazing new pastoral book from one of my favourite writers, Helen Macdonald.

Author of the incredible and evocative H Is For Hawk, Macdonald is back with Vesper Flights, an essay collection that aims to bring together her love of the natural world with her fascination with people. The author is a highly respected bird trainer and natural world expert, so over the years she has amassed a lot of knowledge and tales about nature.

The book is collected essays from Macdonald, and span many years and countries. Macdonald takes the reader on a journey across the world and gives us a glimpse into the habitats and lives of many flora, fauna, animals, birds and, most intriguingly of all, people.

In the introduction, Macdonald compares her book to a Wunderkammern, a traditional German house of curiosities that was less ordered than a modern museum. Her aim is to combine nature with humanity and discuss our fragile relationship with Mother Nature.

That’s why each essay features a different topic; from birds’ nests to wild boar, mushrooms to the effects of climate change. In each essay the author discusses both her own personal feelings and the wider way that people interact with wildlife, plants and the environment.

By incorporating literature, history and the opinions of renowned naturalists, Macdonald showcases her passion for nature and brings together many different views and ideas. She also makes amazing points on the ways that people have interacted with the wild in Britain and around the world for centuries.

So, if you love nature and want to learn more about it, then Vesper Flights is the book for you. Macdonald has heavily researched her work, and she incorporates many intriguing facts into her book. For example, I bet you didn’t know that in the early 2000s around 60 captive wild boar were released into the wild in the South of the UK, and that since then, they have blossomed into a hoard of potentially thousands of boar that roam the woods, according to studies.

That and many other facts are sprinkled throughout the book, so you’re always learning and picking up exciting new information. Macdonald has researched heavily and has read a lot of books on the topic of the natural world, so you’ll learn some really intriguing facts and insights. She also delivers her information in an accessible and memorable way, so you’ll find yourself remembering loads of useful nature facts. These are particularly useful when you consider them in the context of the world’s environmental crisis.

The book isn’t exclusively about wildlife and nature; there’s a truly glorious tale about Macdonald’s pet parrot and a young autistic boy whose parents are considering renting her home. There are personal stories, anecdotes, academic-style essays and teachable moments in the book, so there’s something for all readers and every mood. You’ll laugh, cry and learn, all in one, which is pretty cool for one medium sized book.

At the end of the day, if your New Year’s resolution was to learn more about nature or to read more non-fiction books, then Vesper Flights is your ideal read. Even if you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution, or it wasn’t about reading, then you should still check this engaging and beautifully written book. Whether you’re a novice naturalist or you’re already knowledgeable about the world around us, you’ll find this book a creative and heart warming read.