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On the Wing:
On a mission to map the migration of the peregrine falcon, Alan Tennant and his friend George Vose logged thousands of miles in a rattletrap Cessna. On the Wing is as much quest narrative as nature book, and the tale of the two men's voyage is unforgettable. At their first meeting, when Tennant suggested that they track a radio-tagged falcon by air, WWII vet Vose assessed naturalist Tennant with a keen eye. "Aviation takes intestinal fortitude, Mister. You were pretty green up there today. Calm air, too." Nevertheless, Tennant convinced the gruff pilot that the project was worthy, and they set off, soaring north over the dunes of Gulf Coast barrier islands. The falcon was just a beeping signal to them most of the time, but they became obsessed with its movements. In the small cockpit, they shared extremes of disappointment and elation as they dealt with bad weather, lost signals, run-ins with the Army, and equipment problems. They ended up posing as highway patrol officers, crossing international borders, and risking their lives in order to keep on the track of their wayward subject. Threaded into the funny and moving adventure story, Tennant scatters casual snippets of science--peregrine falcon biology, pesticide toxicology, and the little-understood fact of animal migration itself. The facts never get in the way of the fun, though--this is real Wild Kingdom action. --Therese Littleton [via]