This image is the cover for the book Flights Against the Sunset

Flights Against the Sunset

True life essays that show how a son’s connection with birds helped him reconnect with his mother, from the ornithologist and author of Kingbird Highway.

At age sixteen, Kenn Kaufman left home to travel the world in search of birds. Now a grown man and a renowned ornithologist, he has come back to visit his ailing mother and explain to her what drove his obsession with bird life. His explanation forms a series of interlocking tales from the frontier where the world of birds intersects with the world of the humans who pursue them. The stories range over settings from Alaska to Africa, from trackless jungles to parking lots. They delve into subjects from first dates to last rites, from imagination and desire to sleep deprivation, from poignant encounters with eternal mysteries to comical brushes with biker gangs and secret agents. But as the stories unfold, the ornithologist comes to realize that he can still learn some things about life, and even about the meaning of birds, from his mother.

Flights Against the Sunset brings together nineteen essays, mostly adapted from Kaufman’s long-running column in Bird Watcher’s Digest. They weave an original story that examines how we communicate about our passions with those who do not share the same interests and how to celebrate the world of infinite possibilities and wonder.

“A skilled storyteller. The stories presented here are uniformly captivating and entertaining, but there is also deep insight into birds, people, and life.” —The Birder’s Library

Kenn Kaufman

KENN KAUFMAN, originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series, is one of the world’s foremost naturalists.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (