Book review: Flight Lines - Andrew Darby (Allen & Unwin, 2020)

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Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture
Book review: Flight Lines - Andrew Darby (Allen & Unwin, 2020)

What a wonderful book! Andrew Darby is a journalist (writing for the Age and SMH out of Hobart) and brings wonderful clarity and story-tellikng ability (as well as research skills and a sense of adventure) to this tremendous story of the East Asian Australasian Flyway. He uses the personal travels of two Grey Plovers to illustrate the much bigger story of the amazing migratory shorebirds (including Godwits, Curlew, Sandpipers, Stints and many others) that fly in their hundreds of thousands annually from their breeding grounds in Siberia and the Arctic, all the way to the southern tip of Australia to feed and get fat in the summer. His story is both personal and universal, echoing how the birds are both local and the ultimate global travellers. He dives into the environmental aspects and shows how nature makes mockery of international borders and nationalities - and how critical global cooperation on the environment is as a result. Sometimes depressing (as any environmental book tends to be today) but he also clearly shows how progress can be made by collaborating on an international level to protect vital resources. And by making it personal and tracking the individual flights of these humble grey birds, he sparks a sense of wonder at the almost unimaginable feats these birds routinely master. 

Fantastic reading, and not just for the birders amongst us 

TommyGee's picture

Thanks Alex! I've added this to my shortlist, it sounds amazing.

sue818's picture

Another for the list, thanks Alex.

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