It’s said that within the birding community, everyone has a "spark bird"—the bird that initially sparked one’s interest in the field. In Mike Mctee’s case, it was the golden eagle that first piqued his interest in the avian arena, after an unforgettable and haunting experience. Mctee tells the tale of this feathery journey, through the lens of a hunter, in his book Wilted Wings (Riverfeet Press, $18). With some troubling inspiration and lots of trial and error, he delves into the world of conservation for golden eagles and other raptors. Follow Mctee across the Montana landscape as he chases his winged companions to learn the negative effects that humans and hunters are having on these animals. It’s a story of accountability and the pursuit of what is right instead of what is easy. Thanks to Mctee’s and other biologists’ tireless work, not only have we recognized and addressed the problems, we have also begun to reverse the damage. However, as long as human impacts continue to rise, the fight is never over. I hope this book inspires you to stand up for something you believe in the way it did for me. After all, what could be more patriotic in this country than saving countless eagles along the way.
If you want to do more than just read about saving eagles, consider supporting the Montana Raptor Conservation Center, which saves and rehabilitates injured raptors. And if you come across an injured bird of prey, call their hotline at 406-585-1211.