With style, humor, and a sense of wonder, Nelson blends his field adventures with a history of the birding community; natural and cultural history; bird stories from authors such as Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Mary Oliver; current scientific research; and observations about the fascinating habits of birds and their admirers. These essays are capped off with a plea for bird conservation, in Massachusetts and beyond.
"Flight Calls is as much a collection of short stories about birding as it is an ethnography of Massachusetts birders, a study on the Bay State’s natural history, and a selection of colonial-era anecdotes. As with other birding memoirs, the essays contained within this moderately slim book also possess decidedly human themes surpassing basic birdlife."—Bird Watcher's Digest
"John R. Nelson is as talented a writer as you will find in the birding community today . . . you don’t have to be a Bay State birder to appreciate these essays. They convey a universal sense of wonder about birds, style, humor, and a smart mix of natural and cultural history and human foibles that anyone will enjoy."—BirdWatching Magazine
"This is an entertaining account of the world that local birds inhabit as well as the unique breed of Homo sapiens that chooses to spend its free time chasing down and identifying birds. Through Nelson’s descriptions and explorations of local bird habitats, readers will come to appreciate the biological diversity of the state and region."—John Hanson Mitchell, author of Ceremonial Time: Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile
"Flight Calls is somewhere between a personal memoir, a true-life adventure, and a birder’s personal journal. In addition, anyone reading this book will surely be impressed with Nelson’s grasp of literature, both ornithological and historic."—Wayne R. Petersen, author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Massachusetts