The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration is a delightful book about…. well, that’s the problem of it, about lots of things, and organized in a way that meanders just a tad too much for my taste. As advertised in the subtitle and the cover of the book, the author starts with stories of migrations, migrations of bees and cranes and starlings and terns and butterflies and turtles (and more, I was too interested by the text to jot down all of them), explaining the many mechanisms that guide animals to food, seasonal habitats, even the birthplaces of their dead parents! Along the way we get plenty of stories about his upbringing and research, for the most part delightful and helpful, and then he seems to focus most on his beloved cabin in Maine and his hunting trips there, still delightful but, it seems to be, a little off-topic.
What I liked most about the book is the author’s ability to observe what’s around him, reminding us that wherever we are we can learn a lot but just… looking around (and asking good questions, but mostly just looking, patiently, at life around us).