Fastest Things on Wings (Hardcover)

Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood

By Terry Masear

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544416031, 320pp.

Publication Date: June 16, 2015

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A heartwarming account of the trials and triumphs a hummingbird rehabber encounters while caring for her tiny, fragile patients

Before he collided with a limousine, Gabriel, an Anna’s hummingbird with a head and throat cloaked in iridescent magenta feathers, could spiral 130 feet in the air, dive 60 miles per hour in a courtship display, hover, and fly backward. When he arrived in rehab caked in road grime, he was so badly injured that he could barely perch. But Terry Masear, one of the busiest hummingbird rehabbers in the country, was determined to save this damaged bird, who seemed oddly familiar. During the four months that Terry worked with Gabriel, she took in 160 hummingbirds, from a miniature nestling rescued by a bulldog and a fledgling trapped inside a skydiving wind tunnel at Universal CityWalk, to Pepper, a female Anna’s injured on a film set. In their time together, Pepper and Gabriel form a special bond and, together, with Terry’s help, learn to fly again. Woven around Gabriel’s and Pepper’s stories are those of other colorful birds in this personal narrative filled with the science and magic surrounding these fascinating creatures.
 


About the Author

TERRY MASEAR has taken time off from teaching English as a second language at UCLA Extension to devote time to researching and writing about hummingbirds. Terry and her network in Southern California rescue and rehabilitate over five hundred orphaned and injured hummingbirds each year.


Praise For Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood

“In her endearing new book, FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood, Terry Masear reveals that these birds are not only gorgeous, smart and jaw-dropping masters of flight but also trusting souls that bring out the humanity and love in even the most hard-bitten residents...This is a book about birds that is actually a book about love, and Masear does us a favor by risking heartbreak every day....a powerful story of interspecies communication and trust. The last words of FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS are: ‘I am flying.’ A fitting end to a book that will change forever the way you look at these little birds.”
Los Angeles Times
 
"rewarding for birds and reader alike. This is a charming and lively summertime read, something for the patio or balcony, glass of iced tea at hand, a hummingbird or two zipping around the azaleas."
Dallas Morning News 
 
"a must-read for everyone who enjoys hummingbirds. (Is there anyone who does not fit that category?) Terry Masear is a hummingbird rehabilitator who takes in these tiny injured birds and treats them with great care. Her book, FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS tells about her experiences winning – and occasionally losing – her battles to bring her charges back to health. Although Masear lives in Hollywood and deals with West Coast birds, her stories apply equally to the one species, the ruby-throated hummingbird, we have here. I learned much from this book."
Buffalo News

“[a] bright, engrossing debut…Not just for birders, this captivating book brims with warmth, humor, and drama that will have wide appeal.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
"Encounters with hummingbirds with a variety of personalities have given [Masear] many insightful stories to tell. She has also learned much about the sometimes strange and other times wonderful people of her community, who call her night and day to report orphaned or distressed hummingbirds. Masear is bound to win fans with this passionate memoir."
Booklist
 
"Masear shares an abundance of knowledge about hummingbirds’ mating and feeding habits, their incredible flying abilities and migratory journeys, and what they need to heal and thrive. But her observations about the rescuers are just as interesting. 'You can learn a lot about someone by his reaction to a helpless hummingbird in need of rescue,' she writes. 'In fact, you can find out just about everything you need to know about a person.'"
BirdWatching Magazine

"Terry Masear’s charming account of saving hurt and orphaned hummingbirds grabbed my attention from the first paragraph and kept me riveted until the very last page. I loved this artfully woven story and am certain that animal lovers of all ages will as well."
—Michele Raffin, author of The Birds of Pandemonium

"This rare and lovely book is destined to be a classic. I was riveted, charmed, delighted, devastated, profoundly moved, and taken to a magical place few people ever get to glimpse. It's one of the best books I've ever read about how rehabbers bond with the animals we save."
—Stacey O'Brien, author of Wesley the Owl

"This book is a delightful read. No one else could write such a wonderful memoir of care, compassion, and delight for these small creatures. Masear’s writing is
enthralling and captivating—and I hated for it to end.”
—Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me

Fastest Thing on Wings is an exaltation of hummingbirds, but it’s also the story of Terry Masear’s exceptional heart and heroism in saving these fragile and remarkable creatures.  In her beautiful account, every rescue is a revelation. Hollywood is full of stars, but few shine as brightly as hers.”
 —Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, The Humane Society of the United States
 
"In this well-written memoir, she tells the story of Gabriel, a male Anna’s Hummingbird rescued from danger in the middle of busy Rodeo Drive, and Pepper, a female Anna’s injured on a film set. Along the way, Masear shares an abundance of knowledge about hummingbirds’ mating and feeding habits, their incredible flying abilities and migratory journeys, and what they need to heal and thrive. But her observations about the rescuers are just as interesting. 'You can learn a lot about someone by his reaction to a helpless hummingbird in need of rescue,' she writes. 'In fact, you can find out just about everything you need to know about a person.'" —BirdWatching

"You don’t have to be a bird person in general or a hummingbird person specifically to read this book. You don’t need to know anything about birds at all. The very gifted bird whisperer Terry Masear has you covered. She’s one of California’s hardest-working hummingbird rehabilitators. What she knows about these tiny wonders will leave the average bird lover agog....[you'll] come away with a sense of awe for the tenacity and toughness of these wild animals and their sheer will to survive." —Washington Post
 
“I cannot believe what a gripping read this is – it’s like the Hunger Games for hummingbirds.” —Robin Young, host of NPR's Here and Now
 
"I begin with a must-read for everyone who enjoys hummingbirds. (Is there anyone who does not fit that category?) Terry Masear is a hummingbird rehabilitator who takes in these tiny injured birds and treats them with great care. Her book, Fastest Things on Wings, tells about her experiences winning – and occasionally losing – her battles to bring her charges back to health. Although Masear lives in Hollywood and deals with West Coast birds, her stories apply equally to the one species, the ruby-throated hummingbird, we have here. I learned much from this book" —Buffalo News

“When Terry Masear, author of THE FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood rescued a fledgling 12 years ago, she had no idea that she would one day be Hollywood’s go-to hummingbird rehabber, fielding as many as 85 calls a day….[In the book] she explains how one of the smallest, most beautiful birds in the world evolved from dinosaurs; how hummingbirds can experience PTSD; how even rock stars cry over injured hummingbird chicks; and why she suffers from kitchenheimers.” –National Geographic