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The Human History of the Most Fascinating Bird in the World

by Stephen Bodio

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7627-8022-8
Publisher: Lyons Press

A lavishly illustrated natural and social history of the eagle.

Bodio, a traveler who writes about hunting and nature, delivers a beautiful follow-up to his book about his travels with the hunters of Mongolia, Eagle Dreams (2003). He provides reproductions of paintings by such artists as John James Audubon, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Emil Doepler and especially the Russian Vadim Gorbatov, whose paintings and color photography of Kazakh and Mongolian eagle-falconers add another dimension to the narrative and complement the author's own photography. Bodio comprehensively covers the world of eagles, including golden eagles, bald eagles, the endangered Philippine monkey eating eagle and the huge harpies of Africa and South America. He also provides a history of humans’ relations with the bird. Particularly interesting are a petroglyph from Kazakhstan from about 1300-1200 B.C. and a Chinese hunting scene featuring a hare chased by hounds, an eagle and a hunter on horseback, circa A.D. 350-450. Kazakhs hunt wolves and deer and other creatures with eagles from horseback, and Bodio thinks the ancestors of the Kazakhs may have been the first to hunt this way. He provides eyewitness accounts from publications by travelers and discusses how the birds are captured and trained to hunt. The author also includes a chapter on how these noble creatures were, for a long time, treated as vermin, hunted from the ground and air and poisoned. In the United States, these practices have been outlawed and bird numbers are recovering.

Sure to appeal to hunters and nature lovers.