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Flight Lines: Across the Globe on a Journey with the Astonishing Ultramarathon Birds (Hardcover)
An trans-world journey with an extraorindary shorebird—from Australia's southern ocean to the Arctic and back—that explores the mysteries of the natural world and its power to heal.
*Winner of the Royal Zoological Society Whitely Award for the Best Natural History Book 2020*
As the sun lowered and turned Gulf St Vincent fiery, they each called a high-pitched 'peeooowiii!', flashed their black wing-pits, spread their tail skirts and took flight...
In a luminous new boook, Andrew Darby follows the odysseys of two seemingly-humble Grey Plovers, little-known migratory shorebirds, as they take previously uncharted ultramarathon flights from the southern coast of Australia to Arctic breeding grounds. On these death-defying flights they dodge predators, typhoons, exhaustion, and countless other dangers before they can breed...and then survive the journey all over again and return south to their feeding grounds. But the greatest threat to these, and other long-distance migrants on the flyway, is China's "dragon economy," which is engulfing their vital Yellow Sea staging spots.
In Flight Lines, we meet the dedicated people of all nationalities and backgrounds working to save these intrepid birds, from Russia to Alaska, from the rim of the Arctic Sea to the coasts of the Southern Ocean. Out of their hard-won science Darby finds hope for the birds—an unexpected bright light for our times.
But his journey to understand these marvellous birds almost ends when he is suddenly diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Then he finds science coming to his rescue too, as his own story and the journey of these little birds intersect in an unexpected and beautiful way.
About the Author
Andrew Darby is the author of Harpoon: Into the heart of whaling, and former for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
An immense, heroic and surprisingly uplifting narrative of endurance and survival. — The Guardian (London)
The greatest story ever recorded in the study of migration. — The Australian
A magnificent and personal account of the world we share with migratory shorebirds. — Heather Rose, author of the award-winning novel, The Museum of Modern Love
A tender account of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Australia's shorebirds in their extraordinary pursuit of eternal spring, and the scientists who fight to preserve their flyways. — Penny Olsen, author of Night Parro
An epic journey soaring on the wings of feather-scraps. Exquisitely told. — Wendy Harmer, writer and broadcaster
A vividly-detailed nature narrative. — Kirkus Reviews
Darby invites readers to fly along on the transworld journey of two grey plovers as they make their way from Australia, cross the north-west coast and Indonesia, pass through the Yellow Sea and Siberia, and finally settle in the Arctic to breed...Darby's diagnosis with stage-IV cancer during the writing of this book adds to its already-dramatic effect: it's a work of great importance, and its words are not to be taken lightly. — Booklist