Learn how to take flight with these 5 novels featuring birds.
1. The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott
“This powerful short novel describes the events of a single afternoon. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and sometime novelist, is staying with a friend outside of Paris, when a well-heeled, itinerant Irish couple drops in—with Lucy, their trained hawk, a restless, sullen, disturbingly totemic presence. Lunch is prepared, drink flows. A masquerade, at once harrowing and farcical, begins.”
2. One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
“In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly. But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn’t, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of “pigeoners” trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha’s blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier.”
3. The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich
“Girlhood, courage, nature, and flight from a tyrant’s hand in post-frontier Montana. On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans. The sheriff, her mother, sister, and best friend all think Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident by blaming Drake. But Lilly knows the truth. Left alone she must bring Dean Drake to justice.”
4. A Falcon for a Queen by Catherine Gaskin
“Arriving at Cluain, the old house and whisky distillery owned by her grandfather, Kirsty is drawn to the mysterious and moody Callum Sinclair, who roams the moors with his majestic falcon. She also meets the other people who had known William – the forbidding housekeeper, Mairi Sinclair; the friendly young maid, Morag; and Sir Gavin Campbell and his beautiful wife, Margaret. Over time, Kirsty learns the parts these strangers played in her brother’s life, and how her own fate is bound up by the places and people of this remote land. But nothing can prepare her for the truth that must be revealed.”
5. Laws of Migration by J. Suzanne Frank
“Birds, especially the ibis, have always fascinated Elize–that’s why she became an ornithologist. But when her boss at the private Texas coastal institute where she’s spent her career gives away her expected promotion, Elize flees to Morocco to lick her wounds and write a research paper that will prove her worth and secure her professional future.
“Morocco, with its impressive migration season, exotic flavors, and unwritten rules, is altogether foreign, even if many of the birds are familiar. After a brush with danger, Elize finds herself in Marrakesh, dependent on Erik, a sexy, mysterious stranger who makes her feel alive while opening her eyes to a new, intriguing world. After encountering her ornithology colleagues, who remind Elize of every bad professional choice and missed opportunity, she vows to find the Northern Bald Ibis–an endangered bird few have seen–and impress everyone.
“She and Erik journey from coastal paradise to remote desert mountains in search of the birds. Through misadventure, Elize is forced to trust an unknown culture, and through tragedy, she realizes that love and forgiveness are attainable. But first she must surrender her past and its pain to embrace her future and fly free.”