The Peregrine

Ranked #17 in Birdwatching, Ranked #23 in Birdsee more rankings.

From autumn to spring, J.A. Baker set out to track the daily comings and goings of a pair of peregrine falcons across the flat fen lands of eastern England. He followed the birds obsessively, observing them in the air and on the ground, in pursuit of their prey, making a kill, eating, and at rest, activities he describes with an extraordinary fusion of precision and poetry. And as he continued his mysterious private quest, his sense of human self slowly dissolved, to be replaced with the alien and implacable consciousness of a hawk.

It is this extraordinary metamorphosis, magical...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Peregrine from the world's leading experts.

Robert Macfarlane Baker turned his bulging set of ornithological field journals into a 120-page prose poem. It’s astonishingly energy-filled. (Source)

Jeremy Mynott It’s the story of this pursuit of the bird and how he came to feel a kind of affinity with it, and how he uses the bird as a symbol for the things he feels, or wants to feel, about the natural world. (Source)

William Fiennes It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast with U and I, although it was written by another Baker. My book The Snow Geese had a lot to do with birds and the non-human world around us, but I didn’t read this book until I’d finished. I wish I’d read it earlier than I did. The way he describes the world outside him, particularly birds, is so electric. It avoids all the traps of rhapsody and the sort of nature writing that Evelyn Waugh satirises in Scoop. You remember William Boot [the protagonist of Scoop]? He writes a nature column that’s a terrible, sub-poetic kind of purple-word haze. But The... (Source)

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