A Fieldworker's Guide to the Golden Eagle

A Fieldworker's Guide to the Golden Eagle
Dave Walker
Publisher:  Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath
2017
Softback
Page Count:  254
ISBN Number:  9781849952248
£
19.99

This book contains lots of insightful information, gathered skilfully and painstakingly over years of patient fieldwork. All aspects of Golden Eagle ecology are covered, with particular detail given on habitat use, territoriality, diet and reproductive behaviour. Adding to the book’s value is the fact that it describes behaviour in all seasons, with knowledge of individual eagles and the landscapes they inhabit built up over the course of many years. Much of this information is presented as anecdote, with concrete observations inter-mingled with speculation about mechanism and function. This does not, in and of itself, undermine the value of this information. A rich source of observations, the book can make readers aware of the range of what is possible, and better equip them to challenge the limits of their own understanding of Golden Eagles.

However, the conjecture around these observations is often presented without sufficient qualification, implying certainty where (from the information presented) this may not be warranted. Moreover, the author misses no opportunity to identify flaws in the work of others who have studied and written about Golden Eagles. While he undoubtedly has many useful points to make about the assumptions of these authors, his criticisms often come across as unduly severe. On a related note, some of the wider conclusions he reaches about the wider literature on Golden Eagles, and the approaches taken and advocated by others to conservation and management, are more negative than is deserved.

Nevertheless, this book remains a valuable addition to the library of those interested in reading about, or carrying out fieldwork on, this magnificent bird.

Mark Wilson