The Peregrine Returns: The Art and Architecture of an Urban Raptor Recovery

University of Chicago Press
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Peregrine falcons have their share of claims to fame. With a diving speed of over two hundred miles per hour, these birds of prey are the fastest animals on earth or in the sky, and they are now well known for adapting from life on rocky cliffs to a different kind of mountain: modern skyscrapers. But adaptability only helps so much. In 1951, there were no peregrines left in Illinois, for instance, and it looked as if the species would be wiped out entirely in North America. Today, however, peregrines are flourishing.

In The Peregrine Returns, Mary Hennen gives wings to this extraordinary conservation success story. Drawing on the beautiful watercolors of Field Museum artist-in-residence Peggy Macnamara and photos by Field Museum research assistant Stephanie Ware, as well as her own decades of work with peregrines, Hennen uses a program in Chicago as a case study for the peregrines’ journey from their devastating decline to the discovery of its cause (a thinning of eggshells caused by a by-product of DDT), through to recovery, revealing how the urban landscape has played an essential role in enabling falcons to return to the wild—and how people are now learning to live in close proximity to these captivating raptors.

Both a model for conservation programs across the country and an eye-opening look at the many creatures with which we share our homes, this richly illustrated story is an inspiring example of how urban architecture can serve not only our cities’ human inhabitants, but also their wild ones.
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About the author

Mary Hennen is assistant collections manager for the Bird Collection at the Field Museum, Chicago. In addition to her regular duties of caring for and assisting with the use of ornithological collections, she directs the Chicago Peregrine Program. She lives in Lockport, IL. Peggy Macnamara is adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; artist-in-residence and associate of the zoology program at the Field Museum; instructor at the Field Museum, Chicago Public Libraries Nature Connection, and Art Institute family programs; and the author of several books published by the University of Chicago Press. She lives in Wilmette, IL.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jul 21, 2017
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9780226465562
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Birds
Nature / General
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
Science / Life Sciences / Zoology / Ornithology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Whether we live in cities, in the suburbs, or in the country, birds are ubiquitous features of daily life, so much so that we often take them for granted. But even the casual observer is aware that birds don’t fill our skies in the number they once did. That awareness has spawned conservation action that has led to notable successes, including the recovery of some of the nation’s most emblematic species, such as the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Whooping Crane, and Peregrine Falcon. Despite this, a third of all American bird species are in trouble—in many cases, they’re in imminent danger of extinction. The most authoritative account ever published of the threats these species face, The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation will be the definitive book on the subject.

The Guide presents for the first time anywhere a classification system and threat analysis for bird habitats in the United States, the most thorough and scientifically credible assessment of threats to birds published to date, as well as a new list of birds of conservation concern. Filled with beautiful color illustrations and original range maps, the Guide is a timely, important, and inspiring reference for birders and anyone else interested in conserving North America’s avian fauna. But this book is far more than another shout of crisis. The Guide also lays out a concrete and achievable plan of long-term action to safeguard our country’s rich bird life. Ultimately, it is an argument for hope. Whether you spend your early weekend mornings crouched in silence with binoculars in hand, hoping to check another species off your list, or you’ve never given much thought to bird conservation, you’ll appreciate the visual power and intellectual scope of these pages.

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