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Good Reads  Ornithology  Conservation, Care & Monitoring

Feather Trails A Journey of Discovery Among Endangered Birds

By: Sophie AH Osborn(Author), Pete Dunne(Foreword By)
367 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Chelsea Green
Feather Trails
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  • Feather Trails ISBN: 9781645022428 Hardback Jul 2024 In stock
Price: £25.00
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The story of one woman's remarkable work with a trio of charismatic, endangered bird species – and her discoveries about the devastating threats that imperil them.

In Feather Trails, wildlife biologist and birder Sophie A. H. Osborn reveals how the harmful environmental choices we've made – including pesticide use, the introduction of invasive species, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction – have decimated Peregrine Falcons, Hawaiian Crows, and California Condors. In the Rocky Mountains, the cloud forests of Hawai'i, and the Grand Canyon, Sophie and her colleagues work day-to-day to try to reintroduce these birds to the wild, even when it seems that the odds are steeply stacked against their survival. With humour and suspense, Feather Trails introduces us to the fascinating behaviours and unique personalities of Sophie's avian charges and shows that what endangers them ultimately threatens all life on our planet.

More than a deeply researched environmental investigation, Feather Trails is also a personal journey and human story, in which Sophie overcomes her own obstacles – among them heat exhaustion, poachers, rattlesnakes, and chauvinism. Ultimately, Feather Trails is an inspiring, poignant narrative about endangered birds and how our choices can help to ensure a future not only for the rarest species, but for us too.

Customer Reviews


Sophie A. H. Osborn is an award-winning environmental author and wildlife biologist whose work has included the study and conservation of more than a dozen bird species in the Americas and small mammal research in the backcountry of Grand Canyon National Park. She has contributed to reintroduction efforts for several endangered birds and served as the field manager for the California Condor Recovery Program in Arizona for nearly four years. Her books include Condors in Canyon Country, which won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award for Nature and the Environment. Her writings have been published in BirdWatching, Wyoming Wildlife, and Sojourns magazines.

By: Sophie AH Osborn(Author), Pete Dunne(Foreword By)
367 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Chelsea Green
Media reviews

"An intimate look at the wonder and effort needed for working with endangered species in the wild. [Osborn's] matter-of-fact writing style and wry humor make the reader part of the action."
Booklist (starred review)

"I cannot put Feather Trails down. The book flies, and gracefully. It is timely, important, and applies widely. It reaches wide, and I hope it will be widely read. All Sophie says is true and can and should also be said."
– Bernd Heinrich, biologist; professor emeritus, University of Vermont; author of numerous books on the natural world

"Feather Trails takes you behind the front lines of conservation to experience the daily rigor and reward of a field biologist. Osborn guides you through forests and canyons to the haunts where our most endangered birds eat, sleep, and breed. As she works to understand and restore their populations, her splendid recounting explores the science of birds and their conservation, reveals the challenges a young technician must overcome, and inspires care for the rarest creatures among us."
– John M. Marzluff, professor of wildlife science, University of Washington; author of Gifts of the Crow, Welcome to Subirdia, and In Search of Meadowlarks

"Field biologists are my heroes. Sophie Osborn is one of the main reasons why. Her fieldwork, like her writing, does more than draw attention to the plight of sacred species like the California Condor, the Peregrine Falcon, and the Hawaiian Crow. It also shows us how and why those creatures can be saved."
– John Nielsen, former National Public Radio environmental correspondent

"Few biologists have had Sophie Osborn's front-row seat to the challenges and triumphs of saving critically endangered birds. In Feather Trails, Osborn does more than take us deep inside her decades of work to bring Peregrine Falcons, Hawaiian Crows, and California Condors back from the brink. By immersing us in the lives of these birds, we see them as she sees them-unique individuals whose successes and tragedies become our own. I can't recommend it highly enough."
– Scott Weidensaul, author of A World on the Wing

"Sophie's dedication to conservation and love of birds and the environment shine through the pages of this book."
– David Lindo, author of The Urban Birder

"Sophie Osborn's book, Feather Trails, is an inspiring example of how community recognition, public policy, and individual passion can revitalize endangered species. Her writing is engaging, and her tales from the field are an entertaining and educational read for anyone interested in birds, conservation, or natural history."
– Dorian Anderson, author of Birding Under the Influence

"Through the adventures of a spirited field biologist, we are awakened to the plight of imperiled birds. This is a story of tenacity, the power of the Endangered Species Act, and ultimately of hope for bringing back birds from the brink of extinction."
– Marina Richie, author of Halcyon Journey, 2024 recipient of the John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing

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