Vulture

The Private Life of an Unloved Bird

Katie Fallon

Vulture

Katie Fallon

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

248 pages | 30 color plates | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781684580330 Published August 2020
E-book $19.95 ISBN: 9781684580347 Published August 2020

Few animals have a worse reputation than the vulture. But is it deserved? With Vulture, Katie Fallon offers an irresistible argument to the contrary, tracing a year in the life of a typical North American turkey vulture. Turkey vultures, also known as buzzards, are the most widely distributed and abundant scavenging birds of prey on the planet, found from central Canada to the southern tip of Argentina and nearly everywhere in between. Deftly drawing on the most up-to-date scientific papers and articles and weaving those in with interviews with world-renowned raptor and vulture experts and her own compelling natural history writing, Fallon examines all aspects of the bird’s natural history: breeding, incubating eggs, raising chicks, migrating, and roosting. The result is an intimate portrait of an underappreciated bird—one you’ll never look at in the same way again.

Contents
Introduction: The Spokesbird, Vulture Culture, The Private Lives of Public Birds, Rockshelter, Wings and Prayers, Rebirth, Hill of the Sacred Eagles, On the Move, Virginia Is for Vultures, Battlefield Ghosts, Welcome Back, Buzzards, Epilogue: Spokesbirds for the Spokesbirds, Afterword: What You Can Do, Acknowledgments, Bibliography, Index
Review Quotes
Library Journal
“Entertaining, well-researched. . . . [Fallon] displays great passion and enthusiasm yet writes knowingly and dispassionately on the science of her subject in an engaging, literary style.”
Choice
“Fallon’s personal accounts of her field experiences are engrossing and entertaining. . . . Recommended.”
The Los Angeles Review
"Through thorough research, interviews, and firsthand experience, Fallon establishes unquestionable credibility; however, it is her own narrative writing and descriptive skills that make Vulture a book that is not only educational and inspiring, but readable and entertaining."
The Exponent Telegram
"Fallon truly loves these skillful gliders, and she hopes that readers will see the light. Every time I've seen a vulture this year, this book has come to mind, so I guess I'm hooked."
Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
“Who would have suspected the astonishments of vultures? Katie Fallon has given us an ingenious, funny, delightful book.”
David Gessner, author of All The Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West
“Katie Fallon, who writes with elegance, humor, and restraint, tells the lost stories of the vulture tribe. This book will fill you with wonder.”
Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind
“Fallon shines a bright light on this clan of sadly unloved birds, which are not only vitally important ecologically, but are also among the most imperiled avian groups on the planet. Vulture is an overdue love letter to a bird that deserves far better than we’ve given it.”
Pete Dunne, New Jersey Audubon’s ambassador for birding and author of The Wind Masters: The Lives of North American Birds of Prey
“This is a book that begged to be written. . . . Fallon allows that the study of flying turkey vultures is akin to meditation. Rarely hurried, coursing the heavens like a setter seeks quail, this most widespread of North American vultures invites both contemplation and envy. . . . A book as inspired as the bird that is its focus.”
Keith L. Bildstein, Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
“A heartfelt and authoritative account of the world’s most numerous and misunderstood avian scavenger. Writing in a style reminiscent of Edward Abbey and John McPhee, Fallon successfully captures the natural history of the species and its ability to succeed in both natural and man-made landscapes. Destined to change the mind of anyone who reads it.”
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