________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number . . . .March 17, 2017


Falcons in the City: The Story of a Peregrine Family.

Chris Earley. Photographs by Luke Massey.
Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2016.
48 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-77085-804-6.

Subject Headings:
Peregrine falcon-United States-Juvenile literature.
Urban animals-Juvenile literature.
Human-animal relationships-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Willow Moonbeam.

***˝ /4



As Dacey was about to learn, peregrine falcons are true masters of the sky. Whether they are flying among the high-rise buildings of a city, above the cliffs of the Arctic landscape or over the beaches on the coast, they are the fastest of the fast. They can also land gently on a balcony railing, float high above us with barely a flap of a wing and manoeuver deftly between tall buildings.


Falcons in the City, a profusely illustrated nonfiction book about peregrine falcons, is also a story of an ordinary man who finds that falcons do not discriminate between natural cliffs and the balcony of a highrise building.The book is divided into chapters covering all areas of both of these aspects of the story. The human side includes finding the birds on the balcony, identifying the species, and discovering that they are endangered and, therefore, protected. Later Earley’s curiosity and involvement in the study of the birds make an appearance. The information about the falcons is detailed and starts with the birds’ courting behaviour and nest building, and the nesting, raising and feeding the young (eyasses) right up to their fledging and departing the nest to live on their own.

     Chris Earley is an interpretive biologist at the University of Guelph. This teaching background comes across in the clear presentation of the text. The story runs through the book like a thread with a sidebar on almost every page presenting even more related information. The human story, which also weaves through the book, is a great way to add interest and to connect a reader to the abundant facts. Lots of comparisons are made, including how a peregrine is different from other types of falcons and how to find enough details to be sure of the correct identification.

     Falcons in the City is a reference work that can be consulted for any portion of the information or can be read from cover to cover. The information is dense enough that the index is a necessary and useful feature while the chapters are also divided in such a way as to aid in research. A student could return to another chapter to gather more information at a later time to good effect whether they are interested in the birds, the life cycle and/or the research aspect of the volume.

     The abundant photographs by Luke Massey are an integral part of the book. There are an impressive variety of pictures of all the life stages of the chicks and of the adults hunting, feeding the chicks and defending the nest. Some areas include pictures for comparison with other species of falcons as well as the city locations where the birds had chosen to nest and hunt. These are more than simple conservation pictures and include all aspects of the life of a raptor, a bird that needs to hunt to live.

     Falcons in the City is a splendid book that would be a useful addition to any school library. The large amount of information makes it ideal for middle schoolers while the presentation makes it possible for motivated younger students to gather the details that they may need for several different topics.

Highly Recommended.

Willow Moonbeam is a librarian living in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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