A dynamic account of ornithological history in America's heartland. Today, more than fifty million Americans traipse through wetlands at dawn, endure clouds of mosquitoes, and brave freezing autumn winds just to catch a glimpse of a bird. The human desire to connect with winged creatures defies age and generation. In the Midwest, humans and birds have lived together for more than twelve thousand years. Taking Flight explores how and why people have worshipped, feared, studied, hunted, eaten, and protected the birds that surrounded them. Author and birder Michael Edmonds has combed archaeological reports, missionaries'journals, travelers'letters, early scientific treatises, the memoirs of American Indian elders, and the folklore of hunters, farmers, and formerly enslaved people throughout the Midwest to reveal how our ancestors thought about the very same birds we see today. Whether you're a casual bird-watcher, a hard-core life-lister, or simply someone who loves the outdoors, you'll look at birds differently after reading this book.