The fastest animal alive, the falcon deserves attention not just for the combination of speed, power, beauty and ferocity that has made it an object of fascination for thousands of years, but for the light it sheds on the cultures through which it has flown. This book, bridging science and cultural history, surveys the practical and symbolic uses of falcons in human culture in new and exciting ways. Bestselling natural history writer Helen Macdonald follows the movements of the falcon, her personal experience and knowledge of falconry enriching the history and lore of this bird of prey. She ranges across the globe and over many millennia, taking in natural history, myth and legend, falconry, science and conservation, and falcons in the military, in urban settings and the corporate world. Along the way we discover how falcons were mobilized in secret military projects, their links with espionage, the Third Reich and the space programme, and even how they have featured in erotic stories. Originally published in 2006, this revised 2016 edition features a new introduction.
Combining in-depth practical, personal and scientific knowledge, Macdonald offers a fascinating account of the place of these birds in human history. Falcon is for lovers of the countryside, birdwatchers or anyone who has ever wondered why falcons are so compelling.