Raptor: A Journey Through Birds

Hardcover | April 3, 2017

byJames Macdonald Lockhart

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From the merlin to the golden eagle, the goshawk to the honey buzzard, James Macdonald Lockhart’s stunning debut is a quest of beak, talon, wing, and sky. On its surface, Raptor is a journey across the British Isles in search of fifteen species of birds of prey, but as Lockhart seeks out these elusive predators, his quest becomes so much more: an incomparably elegant elegy to the beauty of the British landscape and, through the birds, a journey toward understanding an awesome power at the heart of the natural world—a power that is majestic and frightening in its strength, but also fragile.

Taking as his guide the nineteenth-century Scottish naturalist and artist William MacGillivray, Lockhart loosely follows MacGillivray’s historical trail as he ventured from Aberdeen to London, filling his pockets with plants and writing and illustrating the canonical History of British Birds. Linking his journey to that of his muse, Lockhart shares his own encounters with raptors ranging from the scarce osprey to the successfully reintroduced red kite, a species once protected by medieval royal statute, revealing with poetic immediacy the extraordinary behaviors of these birds and the extreme environments they call home.

Creatures both worshipped and reviled, raptors have a talon-hold on the human heart and imagination. With his book, Lockhart unravels these complicated ties in a work by turns reverent and euphoric—an interweaving of history, travel, and nature writing at its best. A hymn to wanderers, to the land and to the sky, and especially to the birds, Raptor soars.

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From the merlin to the golden eagle, the goshawk to the honey buzzard, James Macdonald Lockhart’s stunning debut is a quest of beak, talon, wing, and sky. On its surface, Raptor is a journey across the British Isles in search of fifteen species of birds of prey, but as Lockhart seeks out these elusive predators, his quest becomes so mu...

James Macdonald Lockhart is a literary agent with Antony Harwood Limited and an associate editor at and regular contributor to Archipelago magazine. Raptor is his first book and the recipient of the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-fiction. He lives in Warwickshire, United Kingdom.

other books by James Macdonald Lockhart

Raptor: A Journey Through Birds
Raptor: A Journey Through Birds

Paperback|May 9 2017

$16.88 online$18.99list price(save 11%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:April 3, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022647058X

ISBN - 13:9780226470580

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“The frequent appearance of Macgillivray and his works, even his meetings with local people as he walks hundreds of miles in search of birds, adds a pleasing quirkiness to an already unusual work, beautifully evoking birds and environments. The book has a lot of informative detail within, so that in reading these accounts a good deal of learning about birds and places is inevitable. Any bird of prey fan, particularly those with an interest in these spectacular birds' changing fortunes over time, will find it irresistible, and it is thoroughly recommended.”