GOLDEN EAGLE COUNTRY by Richard R. Olendorff


Email this review


The ornithologist author and his companions roamed about the western Great Plains, traveling from one raptor nest to another--checking young birds and their food; banding them; observing their courtship, mating, nesting and incubating behavior; and looking for egg failures and nestling deaths. Not only golden eagles, but falcons, hawks and owls come under Olendorff's hearty scrutiny. (Details of the field work are punctuated with leaden jollities and japes about driving down the road or scaling a cliff.) The author's love and admiration for these birds of prey bring forth some peak moments: ""There was something hypnotic about lying on the ground gazing into the deep brown of that eagle's eyes. . . a spiritual experience."" On the whole the report is somewhat scattered and the prose stiff-gaited: ""The countryside was replete with an inspiring sharpness."" However, Olendorff does evolve some pertinent conclusions--birds of prey abound on the prairies; they are inadvertently protected by ranching (cattle, not sheep) practices, not as vulnerable to DDT (less evidence of it is seen in the arid grasslands) and there are sufficient numbers to encourage a sound program of applied conservation. The 37 dramatic drawings by Robert Katona are a strong selling point.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1975
Publisher: Knopf