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Due in Bookstores Fall 2024

PREFACE

Bird flight is beautiful to behold but mysterious in nature. Almost everyone enjoys the thrill of watching birds fly, but few people have more than a vague notion of what makes bird flight possible. In this book, I will pull back the veil of mystery surrounding bird flight and explain its many facets in a way that is accessible to people who love birds.

 

This book has emerged over the last decade from my passion as a photographer of flying birds, some of which formed the basis for my previous book, 100 Flying Birds: Photographing the Mechanics of Flight. It gradually became clear to me that many of the secrets of bird flight were revealed in the more than 800,000 images that I have taken. I started, earnestly and somewhat reverently, following the work of researchers who study bird flight. I interpreted my images based on their findings and through my own prism as a scientist who has studied the anatomy and biomechanics of human movement. My insights were also informed by many hundreds of hours flying small airplanes, being buffeted by the same aerodynamic forces that birds face in their daily lives. These experiences, coupled with a strong desire to bring bird flight science to the attention of bird lovers, gave me the inspiration to write this book.

 

Who has not woken from a dream to realize that they were flying? I believe that this reflects how deeply flight, and the desire to fly, is embedded in our subconscious. My hope is that your envy, enjoyment, and wonder of bird flight — and your own bird-watching — will be enhanced and informed by reading this book.

 

Peter Cavanagh

Lopez Island, 2024

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