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The Wind Masters: The Lives of North American Birds of Prey

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Even people with little interest in birds will stop in their tracks at the sight of a hawk soaring overhead or a falcon perched on a window ledge. Birds of prey have an aura that few other creatures have. In the acclaimed Hawks in Flight, Pete Dunne showed what birds of prey look like. In The Wind Masters, he shows what it is like to be a bird of prey. He takes us inside t ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Mariner Books (first published October 23rd 1995)
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Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many touching accounts of specific raptors here— a blind Golden Eagle, a young Osprey in difficulty catching fish until she catches a Bluefish too heavy for her— but also of successful birds. Young osprey migrate thousands of miles, starting days before their parents do, those in Wales migrating to Africa, the males to the western continent, females more central or eastern. Literally inhuman, instinctual. Takes two years for them to return, if they do. Fairly high mortality of raptor young…Eagle ...more
David R.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An unusual Dunne Grand Slam hit out of the park. In this work the noted birder takes on 33 species of birds of prey which (per carefully delineated criteria) nest in North America. Rather than roll through the list and attempt the sort of dry detail commonly found in field guides, Dunne sets the profiles up almost as fantasy, with birds thinking and speaking in ways understandable by human beings. The birds come alive, and we meet all manner of personalities from quirky, to cynical old timer, to ...more
Nov 12, 2007 rated it liked it
This book is about raptors- one of my passions as many of you know. This book mixes fact and fiction in short stories about the diurnal raptors of North America. Good for someone that doesn't know much about the birds- made for general readers. Though it anthropomorphizes the animals, it is an excellent read.

Now that I am finished, I would say that I liked the book, but it wasn't the greatest. It does have a lot of info, but the stories are somewhat cliche.
Nancy Grant
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
An unconventional approach toward understanding the lives and actions of fierce hunters
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What a wonderful informative read! The author is an authority who writes about birds often but this book is dedicated to raptors. So much information is given in a readable style that I loved perusing his words about North American birds of prey. I would read about three or four and set the book aside to think about the information and meld it with my experience and observations. We have coopers hawks, ospreys and kestrals flying through our yards often. However, I'd like to share one particular ...more
Gian Fabbri
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A surprisingly poetic, moving, instructive, and, yes, bittersweet collection of short stories capturing moments in the life-cycle, and seasons of North America's raptors, "The Wind Masters" is one of the most enjoyable (and unusual) reads I've had in a long time.

Dunne's prose is poetic and casts the various species' vignettes in an almost Animist light that is, at times, deeply moving.

My one quibble with the book is that occasionally, Dunne breaks from his beautiful narrative style to somewhat a
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-17
With all the lovely books on my to-read list, I had to go pull a random library book off the shelves. And I got what I deserved. It was a lovely little volume of highly anthropomorphized scenes of most of the raptors in North America, going about their daily lives or participating in the singular rituals of courtship, brooding, or raising young. It excluded owls for some reason--possibly the author wasn't so much an expert on owls as he was on hawks and vultures.

It was lovely, yes, and the writi
Jessie (saxgrl1)
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature, birding
This book gives the reader an excellent glimpse into the lives of Raptors with lots of natural history weaved into a short story. Like another reviewer, I was a little put off by the anthropomorphic qualities the author assumes for each species. But as someone who works with birds of prey daily, its hard not to see that each bird has a personality all its own. A great read for someone who wants to learn about birds of prey, but not get overwhelmed with too many facts.
Michael Loder
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hawk watchers anywhere
I thoroughly enjoyed Dunne exploration of the wide range of raptors that nest north of the Rio Grande. I learned something new about each species. Dunne uses capsule biographies to cover matters such as diet, hunting techniques, mating and nesting patterns unique to each species—area neglected by standard guides. While the biographies are fictional, the information Dunne shares is not. Fine nature writing worth returning to again and again.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
over 30 short stories, one each for each bird of prey specie that lives in North America - give loving access to an imaginative recreation of bird life. From carrion eater to proud eagle, I found the writing a bit dense. The author provides quite a bit of data on each birds looks and habits, etc. A very good read
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
For me, this was a very hard book to read. I love bird watcher and thought this would give me insight to their world. I just had a very hard time with this book. Struggled through it though.
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