The Man Who Flies With Birds

Car­ole G. Vogel and Yos­si Leshem
  • Review
By – November 1, 2011
Read­ers of any age will be engaged by this fas­ci­nat­ing account of the life and work of Yos­si Leshem, Israeli ornithol­o­gist extra­or­di­naire. From the open­ing image of Leshem crouched high up in a buz­zard nest furi­ous­ly band­ing baby chicks while their screech­ing par­ents cir­cle above him, to the recent machi­na­tions of select­ing an Israeli nation­al bird, the fast pace doesn’t let up through­out this 60 page pho­to-essay aimed at mid­dle grade and young adult read­ers. Dr. Leshem is most cel­e­brat­ed for his work with the Israeli Air Force on elim­i­nat­ing the dan­ger of bird strikes col­lid­ing with air­craft. In fact, the book is ded­i­cat­ed to three air force pilots who lost their lives in just such a man­ner. He dis­cov­ered that these acci­dents occurred dur­ing the heavy bird migra­tion sea­son, and con­sid­ered that if he were to map the migra­tion routes, he would be able to fore­cast where and when birds were expect­ed to appear. The Air Force fund­ed his dar­ing project, thus sav­ing many lives and air­craft. He also estab­lished a joint research and edu­ca­tion­al pro­gram with Jor­da­ni­ans and Pales­tini­ans called Migrat­ing Birds Know No Bound­aries” which uses the Inter­net to track bird move­ments across var­i­ous coun­tries. The book is extreme­ly well orga­nized and the pho­tos, maps, and side­bars are infor­ma­tive and eye-catch­ing. It is indeed a plea­sure to be able to share the pos­i­tive aspect of Israel’s envi­ron­men­tal suc­cess­es with ani­mal lovers of all ages and sat­is­fy Dr. Leshem’s goal of build­ing pub­lic aware­ness about birds and nature con­ser­va­tion. For ages 8 – adult.
Lisa Sil­ver­man is direc­tor of Sinai Tem­ple’s Blu­men­thal Library in Los Ange­les and a for­mer day school librar­i­an. She is the for­mer chil­dren’s book review edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World.

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