Birds Blog Review

Review and Bird Guide: “H is for Hawk”

Yes, this book is a memoir about a woman and her hawk, yet it is so much more than that.

This Book is for Everyone

I had been eyeing this book for a long time before I had the time to pick it up. Friends and acquaintances from very different backgrounds, unassociated with my avian endeavors, had been suggesting that I read H is for Hawk  for months before I read it. A woman I met at a fundraiser for raptors said that the book had sparked her interest in birds. Wow, I thought, I must get a hold of this book. It was clearly having an impact on people from all walks of life, but for very different reasons…

Yes, this book is a memoir about a woman and her hawk, yet Macdonald is generous in her writing and gives her audience much more. It is a literary delight — the writing is so well crafted. That coupled with Macdonald’s succinct storytelling style leaves the mind (and the heart) to breathe between the words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. Although at times, there is little time for a breather.

What I liked most about the book, was that the subtle unspoken parts of the human experience were accounted for and represented — not just in her own story, but in the story of White. In H is for Hawk Macdonald unfolds the bittersweet beauty of life through the pains of being human — marginalization, death, illness, loss, conflict.

There are few books that I hold close to my heart after I have read them, Midnight’s Children, No Country for Old Men, The Road, The Lives of Animals, and now, H is for Hawk. It is a book to be cherished. My copy was nearly 300 pages long, but when it was over I wanted more — more of her story, her writing, her hawk, and more of her style. It is impeccable.

This one book has inspired me to read, at least, four more. Macdonald’s book Falcon, her book of poems Shaler’s Fish, and White’s The Sword in the Stone and The Goshawk.

Follow Helen Macdonald on Twitter.

Buy the book on Amazon.

Listen to the audio on Audible.

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Birds in the Book

Below are visual representations of some birds introduced in H is for Hawk and even a hawk cam where you can admire hawks through “pixel glitter” (Macdonald).

Chaffinch. Image Credit: PIXABAY
Hobby. Image Credit: PIXABAY
Peregrine Falcon. Image Credit: PIXABAY
Saker Falcon. Image Credit: PIXABAY


Goshawk. Image Credit: Audubon


Hawk Cam

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  1. Hi, I read this post and am certainly going to check out H is for Hawk, thank you. If you would be interested, I would love to send you a copy of my novel, Noah’s Wife. One of the characters is a bird. It won Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year for Historical Fiction when it debuted. I can send you a book or e-book or a code for the audio book on There is much more about it on my website. Check it out and thank you for your posts and beautiful photos.


    T.K. Thorne

    Stay in the Loop! Blogging about What Moves Me—Whales to Whirling Dervishes!

    Free short stories when you sign up for my Newsletter


    1. E-book is great T.K. Thank you! I sincerely hope that you do take the time to read “H is for Hawk”. Please send the code to use @ in place of the _at_ when sending the link. Thank you, again!

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