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In the late 1970s, the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon were heading toward extinction, victims of the combined threats of DDT, habitat loss, and lax regulation. Flight Paths tells the story of how a small group of New York biologists raced against nature’s clock to bring these two beloved birds back from the brink in record-setting numbers.
In a narrative that reads like a suspense tale, Darryl McGrath documents both rescue projects in never-before-published detail. At Cornell University, a team of scientists worked to crack the problem of how to breed Peregrine Falcons in captivity and then restore them to the wild. Meanwhile, two young, untested biologists tackled the overwhelming assignment of rebuilding the Bald Eagle population from the state’s last nesting pair, one of whom (the female) was sterile.
McGrath interweaves this dramatic retelling with contemporary accounts of four at-risk species: the Short-eared Owl, the Common Loon, the Bicknell’s Thrush, and the Piping Plover. She worked alongside biologists as they studied these elusive subjects in the Northeast’s most remote regions, and the result is a story that combines vivid narrative with accessible science and is as much a tribute to these experts as it is a call to action for threatened birds.
Flight Paths by Darryl McGrath will be available from SUNY Press February 2016. For more information or to order, click here.
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