One of the world’s foremost birders reflects on his life in nature, which has always “kept me young through a sense of wonder.”
Emanuel has spent his entire life observing birds, beginning with his childhood in Houston, when, “like some boys, I was interested in just about anything that was alive—birds, butterflies, crayfish, snakes, turtles, fish.” Since then, the author has traveled to every continent and chronicled more than 6,000 species of birds, and his birding tour company, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, which he founded in 1976, is held in high regard within the ecotourism world. In his memoir, the author reminisces about his countless experiences with birds and the opportunities that have blossomed around that interest. Emanuel caught the nature bug early and particularly enjoyed the many wonderful winged creatures he encountered around his hometown. By the time he was 10, he had participated in his first Audubon Christmas Bird Count. His lifelong passion has led to deeply satisfying relationships with other birders including Roger Tory Peterson, George Plimpton, Peter Matthiessen, and Laura Bush. In 1985, after a few of his colleagues left VENT to start their own company, Emanuel came to a realization about what he wanted to do next. “I wanted to create an educational adventure for youngsters,” writes the author, “so they could learn to identify birds, understand their life zones, and appreciate the environmental role that birds play in nature….I found solace in this new endeavor because it was focused on serving the next generation of birders.” Whether he is recounting his experiences with raptors in Turkey, rose-ringed parakeets in India, or black-and-white owls in Panama, Emanuel’s love of the natural world is always on display.
A charming narrative for avid birders and armchair nature lovers, sure to inspire at least a few flights of fancy.