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Flights of Imagination

Extraordinary Writing About Birds

Regular price $22.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781553655350
  • Tags: Nature & Environment, Richard Cannings,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 03/08/2010
  • 280 Pages

A stellar collection of superb writing about birds and birdwatching from a foremost birder and natural historian.

Birdwatching is one of the most popular recreational activities in North America. Many of the world's greatest natural history writers have penned eloquent, informative, and profound essays about these alluring creatures. This timeless evocation of our passion for birds features twenty works from such esteemed writers as Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Ellen Melroy, Barbara Kingsolver, Richard Mabey, Diane Ackerman, and William Fiennes.

Included in this diverse selection are excerpts from popular books as well as articles from science and natural history magazines, about birds from all over the planet and the birders, pishers, twitchers, and listers who love them.

Illuminating, entertaining, literary, and intimate, the varied writing reveals the numerous and often unexpected ways in which birds—spiritual messengers, mythic symbols, personal obsessions, even harbingers of environmental catastrophe—connect us to the natural world.

Richard Cannings is a renowned naturalist, conservationist and lecturer on birds and bird habitats. He works as a consulting biologist assessing endangered species and organizing bird population surveys, and he can be heard on the CBC Radio 1 program BC Almanac as its regular birding expert. He is the author of An Enchantment of Birds, The Rockies: A Natural History, and Birds of Interior BC and the Rockies and is co-author of British Columbia: A Natural History, Birds of Southwestern British Columbia, and the upcoming Birds of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Penticton, BC.


"Cannings . . . has done a remarkable job of assembling text from different points of view: novelists, biologists, travel writers and memoirists all muse on their experiences with birds. Most of the authors featured in Flights of Imagination might be unfamiliar to many readers, but that shouldn't be a deterrent: reading these essays is almost as good as seeing the birds ourselves." -Comox Valley Echo

"Collecting such extraordinary writing in one place as a means of giving it new life is undoubtedly a worthy endeavor. If only such new life could be granted to the carrier pigeon." -Quill & Quire

"There are many flights one embarks upon while reading Flights of Imagination. There is, of course, the titular flight of the metaphors and tales inspired by birds, but you also hopscotch around the world to exotic birding locales and even travel through time, as well. It's an invigorating mix that propels you through the collection." -Telegraph-Journal

"Twitchers and listers alike will love the motley tales compiled by a University of British Columbia consulting biologist and also a teacher of field ecology who is one of Canada's foremost birders, which range from charting the earliest recollections of an ornithophile to contemplating the ways in which these singing, spiritual messengers connect us to the physical world." -Toronto Star