Heinrich explores the fascinating science chipping away at the mysteries of animal migration: how geese imprint true visual landscape memory; how scent trails are used by many creatures, from fish to insects to amphibians, to pinpoint their home if they are displaced from it; and how the tiniest of songbirds are equipped for solar and magnetic orienteering over vast distances. Most movingly, Heinrich chronicles the spring return of a pair of sandhill cranes to their home pond in the Alaska tundra. With his trademark "marvelous, mind-altering" prose (Los Angeles Times), he portrays the unmistakable signs of deep psychological emotion in the newly arrived birds--and reminds us that to discount our own emotions toward home is to ignore biology itself.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-02-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Retired biologist Heinrich (Life Everlasting) combines a scientific examination of animal migration with elements of journalism and memoir to produce a thoroughly engaging book. To open, he discusses the amazing ability of a diverse array of animals to migrate long distances and to return to their home breeding grounds: sandhill cranes annually to a small pond in Alaska after overwintering in Mexico, albatrosses to a speck of land in the middle of the ocean to breed after being away for years at a stretch, or salmon to their natal stream. Heinrich comfortably recognizes that there is a great deal that scientists have yet to discover and poses intriguing unanswered questions. The highlight of Heinrich’s second section is his recounting of an expedition he made to a pristine rainforest in the mountains of Suriname. In the final section he focuses on himself and his home in Maine, writing beautifully of living and hunting on his land as well as the myriad ways he has come to know the fauna and flora with which he shares his property. Although the books elements do not fit seamlessly, the work is strong enough to yield a holistic picture of various aspects of this important natural phenomenon. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Apr.)