Rachel Dickinson profiles falconer Steve Chindgren, a man willing to make extreme sacrifices to continue practicing the sport that has ruled his life. Dickinson arrives at a sense of falconry’s allure: the unpredictable nature of the hunt and the soaring exhilaration of success.
Further exploration unveils the enormous emotional cost to a falconer who establishes an extraordinary tie to his birds. When, in the space of two days, Chindgren loses two birds that he’d been training for years, he is plunged into a profound depression that is only deepened when Jomo, his best bird, slows down because of old age.
In addition to this challenge, Chindgren faces the danger to falconry that the modern world presents. Grouse habitat is being degraded by mining, agriculture, and gas industry interests. And the number of falconers is dwindling—the corps is graying and has few acolytes.
Falconry is a sport that requires persistence, stoicism, and sacrifice; in this captivating account, Dickinson illuminates a fascinating subculture and one of its most hard core personalities.
About the Author
RACHEL DICKINSON is a writer whose articles have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, USA Weekend, National Geographic Traveler, Audubon, and many other publications. She is the author of several books. She and her husband, Tim Gallagher, an avid falconer, live with their four children.
"Though this eye-opening book is about falconry, the real subject here is obsession. How far will one man push himself around the law and his family to achieve his singular goal of controlling a wild predator? With fine writing and a keen eye for detail, Rachel Dickinson provides some surprising answers." - Mark Obmascik, author of Halfway to Heaven and The Big Year
"A unique portrait of one of the most eccentric and obsessive characters in contemporary America and the vulnerable part of the West he considers home. Its interest to falconers is guaranteed, but it also deserves to find an audience amongst all those who are repulsed by the destruction of our natural heritage, who cherish wilderness and the creatures that have lived there for millions of years. Behind the complex picture of Steve and his environment, there is a deeper question: how can we ensure that lives such as Steve's and the creatures he loves continue to be possible?" - Tony Huston, screenwriter and falconer
"More than a mere hobby, falconry is a way of life. Its practitioners are stubborn and focused, complex and conflicted, devoted and dedicated, even fanatical. And frankly misunderstood by most naturalists and environmentalists. In this honest and sympathetic portrayal, Rachel Dickinson presents a clear picture of the strange and fascinating lives of modern falconers." - Ted Floyd, editor, Birding
"Falconer on the Edge is a sharply drawn portrait of a hunter, a man who leaves his family to fly falcons on sage grouse for months at a time. Through DickinsonÕs keen observation, we conclude that the sport of falconry cannot survive outside the hothouse of obsession. It is a sport that amounts to a crucible, heating and hardening a few rare individuals single-minded enough to let their lives melt into it." - Julie Zickefoose, author of Letters from Eden