One time I was walking through my city and was crossing through an older industrial/warehouse section of town that in the last 20 years or so had begun the process of being converted into “urban living” with warehouse lofts, bars, and restaurants coming in to replace a set of industries no longer housed here. So to emphasize, not exactly a bucolic setting. I had my headphones in and suddenly an older man who was standing outside of a corner store grabbed my arm and pointed at a power line. He pointed a bird and said “Is that an eagle?!” And I looked and it was one of the most comically small hawk you could imagine, most certainly less than a pound. I said “No it’s just a hawk” and he said, “well how do you know?” I said: “Well eagles are really big, and also they look like eagles”. So he was a little miffed.
Anyway, that’s about my knowledge of birds in general and birds of prey specifically. I grew up in the suburbs and as far as I knew, there were two kinds of birds: robins and cardinals. I guess I knew of eagles, hawks, blue jays, and orioles from sports, but in terms of seeing them in the wild, I had about as much information on them as I did wildcats. There’s also a small part of me that doesn’t fully comprehend that owls are birds, for example.
This book then is a marvel. Peregrines in a lot of ways are kind of regular looking. They are pretty and striking as all birds of prey are. But it’s not like they are parrots or toucans or other exotic birds. They are medium sized and brown and white mostly. So then to take that bird and to write a beautifully constructed prose ode to them like this book stand out as a gift to even the most ordinary of creatures.