Synopses & Reviews
At age sixteen, Kenn Kaufman left home to travel the world in search of birds. Now a grown man and a renowned ornithologist, he has come back to visit his ailing mother and explain to her what drove his obsession with bird life. His explanation forms a series of interlocking tales from the frontier where the world of birds intersects with the world of the humans who pursue them. The stories range over settings from Alaska to Africa, from trackless jungles to parking lots. They delve into subjects from first dates to last rites, from imagination and desire to sleep deprivation, from poignant encounters with eternal mysteries to comical brushes with biker gangs and secret agents. But as the stories unfold, the ornithologist comes to realize that he can still learn from his mother some things about life and even about the meaning of birds.
Flights Against the Sunset brings together nineteen essays, mostly adapted from Kaufman's long-running column in Bird Watchers Digest. They weave an original story that examines how we communicate about our passions with those who do not share the same interests and how to celebrate the world of infinite possibilities and wonder.
About the Author
KENN KAUFMAN is the originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series and author of Lives of North American Birds, Kingbird Highway,
and Flights Against the Sunset,
among other books. Long recognized as an expert on bird identification, he has been teaching popular workshops on the subject since 1980 and has written hundreds of ID articles for Birder's World, American Birds,
and other publications. A field editor for Audubon
and a contributor to every major birding magazine, he has also led nature tours on all seven continents. He and his wife, Kimberly, make their home in northwestern Ohio.
Table of Contents
Room 432 9:13 a.m. 1 The Ghost in the Station 11
Room 432 9:42 a.m. 23 Curlew After Curfew 25
Room 432 10:08 a.m. 38 Eagle Dreams 41
Room 432 10:25 a.m. 50 Your Eyes Are Like Limpid Pools, Whatever That Means 53 The Name of the Jar 60
Room 432 11:10 a.m. 69 A Pair of Spectacles 74
Room 432 11:48 a.m. 83 This Birds for You 90 Supercool 97 Hells Birders 106
Room 432 1:16 p.m. 116 The Birder Who Came In from the Cold 121 Parking Lot Birds 132
Room 432 2:05 p.m. 141 Freedom For Sale 144 Into Thin Air 149 Spring on the Central Highway 158
Room 432 2:57 p.m. 164 Nightland 168 Kokako Sunrise 177
Room 432 3:50 p.m. 187 Abundant Life 192 The Beach Is Bad 200
Room 432 4:30 p.m. 209 A Petrel from Mars 212
Room 432 4:59 p.m. 222