Bookshop Santa Cruz, in partnership with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, will host a free online event celebrating the paperback release of Vesper Flights. The free, virtual book talk will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 18. Registration is required.

From the New York Times bestselling author of H is for Hawk and winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction, comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. Animals don’t exist to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves. The book is available for purchase at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

In Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved essays, along with new content ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep.

Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Helen invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing the massive migration of songbirds from the top of the Empire State Building, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes with heart-tugging clarity about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, and the unexpected guidance and comfort we find when watching wildlife.

By one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers, Vesper Flights is a captivating and foundational book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss, and how we make sense of the world around us.

About Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, naturalist and historian of science. Her book H is for Hawk won many prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the Costa Book of the Year, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger in France, and in the US was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, and lives in Suffolk.

About Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Established in 1976, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) is a vital partner with California State Parks, creatively working to ensure our cherished local parks and beaches are thriving and available to all. Friends’ innovative and collaborative community partnership provides support and investment for education, equity and inclusion, conservation, facilities improvements, historic preservation and cultural events. Friends currently operates a robust online ParkStore as well as ParkStores at Seacliff and Natural Bridges state beaches, and Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, offering nature- and history-themed merchandise for sale to benefit local parks and beaches. Learn more at or via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.