In this extraordinary narrative, Alan Tennant, a passionate observer of nature, recounts his all-out effort to radio-track the transcontinental migration of the peregrine falcon—an investigation no one before him had ever taken to such lengths.
On the Wing transports us from the windswept flats of the Texas barrier islands—where the tundra falcons pause during their springtime journey north—to the Arctic, and then back south, through Mexico, Belize, and into the Caribbean, in a hilariously picaresque and bumpy flight. At the helm is Tennant’s partner in falcon-chasing, George Vose, a septuagenarian World War II vet who trusts his instincts as much as his instruments. As the two men nearly lose their lives and run afoul of the law in the race to keep their birds in view and their rattletrap Cessna gassed up and running, Tennant renders with gorgeous precision and skill the landscape and wildlife they pass on the way and the falcons that direct their course.
On the Wing is a breathtaking encounter with these majestic birds—the icons of pharaohs, Oriental emperors, and European nobility—whose fierce mien, power, and swiftness have fired the human imagination for centuries. An unforgettable and mesmerizing tale that speaks to all our dreams of flight.
About the Author
Alan Tennant is the author of numerous books on wildlife and nature, including "The Guadalupe Mountains of Texas," which won the Southern Book Award, Western Books Award, and a best nonfiction award from the Texas Institute of Letters. He currently lives in West Texas and conducts natural history trips around the world.
“On the Wing reads like an avian version of On the Road...Tennant is a dreamer, a watcher, and a chaser.” —Dallas Morning News
“Reads as if Hunter S. Thompson decided to pursue a passion for endangered birds. . . . Tennant is a gifted naturalist.” —Science News
“Moves with the action of a four star movie. . . . [On the Wing] will keep you rapt to the very end.” —Natural History
“On the Wing reveals the true nature of our planet. Tennant's parable encourages us to find the strength and courage to place ourselves in the context of the world as it really is.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Tennant buckles us into a rattletrap Cessna flown by a septuagenarian stunt pilot and flings us aloft to share an obsessive, madcap, death-defying and often illegal adventure attempting to radio-track the transcontinental migrations of these majestic, endangered birds. . . . An exhilarating, hilarious and cautionary tale.” —Los Angeles Times