I’ve never been obsessed by a single species enough to dedicate my time to one species alone, and I have not in the past ever really read any single species books, assuming them to be rather dull solely focused on just one bird species. But I’d never say I’m not open to trying new things, so when I had the chance to read Peregrine by Patrick Stirling-Aird, I was quite looking forward to something new.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that my entire world has changed and I will now dedicate my life to one bird species, but it was a fascinating read. Learning new things about falcons as a family (I had no idea they were closer related to Owls than hawks for instance) was really enjoyable, and the in-depth looks at Peregrine Falcons themselves did open my eyes to this species a little more, from its distribution to its feeding habits and much more (I’m not going to spoil the read by revealing more facts, read the book).
It must be said that the actual book itself (beyond the writing which I will come to) is a stunning example to behold, it is in the same series of book as a one I reviewed recently [Dragonfly by David Chandler & Steve Cham] and they are beautiful books to hold in your hands, they look wonderful on the table or shelf and are a perfect example of how to design a great book. They are the sort of book you can fall in love with just after seeing the cover or opening the package!
Anyway, back to the content. The book is stuffed full of some absolutely stunning images of all manner of Peregrine Falcons (and their family members), and is filled with some brilliantly written and well documented details. Everything is backed up with the years of study that have come before from the author, and it is clear from his writings that he is VERY passionate about the birds, and clearly has a really deep understanding (and love) for Peregrine Falcons.
There isn’t a lot about Peregrines that isn’t covered (if there is anything then it is beyond my knowledge), starting with the Falcon family, then taking you on a journey through the Peregrines life, from populations and distribution to feeding, breeding to habitats, and then beyond. Patrick takes you from the Peregrines life into its relationship with man, highlights the threats it is under and even gives advice on watching these enigmatic hunters in the wild.
Anything I Didn't Like
Like I said at the start I’m not really a huge fan of single species accounts, maybe it is the way my mind works, with wildlife I want to see more than just one bird, but having said that, there is no other way you could pack as much information about a species into one book. And for that I am going to say that no there is nothing I didn't like, and I think I may actually give single species accounts more time in the future.
So, would I recommend this to people, hell yeah, it is well worth a read and will really help to increase your knowledge of the Peregrine Falcon (if not falcons as a whole). Brilliantly written, and clearly from a really passionate heart, the book is enthralling and beautiful to behold. And what is more would look great on your bookshelf. Don’t be put off by it seemingly being limited to a single species.
Please support the Suki Woodland Memorial Trust