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OUT NOW — Bird Brother: A Falconer’s Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife

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Bird Brother by Rodney Stotts with Kate Pipkin

Bird Brother by Rodney Stotts with Kate Pipkin

A captivating, deeply personal story of Stott's journey to become one of America’s few Black master falconers.

Stotts’s gift for storytelling, as an educator and public speaker, is on full display in this remarkable memoir; it’s thought-provoking, moving, and inspiring.”
— "Library Journal," starred
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, February 7, 2022 / -- To escape the tough streets of Southeast Washington, D.C., in the late 1980s, young Rodney Stotts would ride the metro to the Smithsonian National Zoo. There, birds of prey fascinated him, sparking a passion that would lead him from cleaning up the polluted banks of D.C.’s Anacostia River to founding his own raptor education program and sanctuary.

In "Bird Brother: A Falconer's Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife" (Publication Date: February 3, 2022) by Rodney Stotts with Kate Pipkin, Stotts writes, “you’re holding this bird, and it’s like you’re wrapping all of nature in your arms, and you know your life is never going to be the same again.” The book details Stotts’ journey from getting caught up in dealing drugs to becoming a conservationist and one of America’s few Black master falconers. In a captivating, deeply personal story, he shares his lifelong passion for birds of prey and the joy and fulfillment of helping others connect with these remarkable animals.

A story about pursuing dreams against all odds and the importance of second chances, "Bird Brother" brings readers on Stotts’ journey to master falconer, from the rewarding work of reintroducing eagles to the Anacostia River, to befriending an injured Eurasian Eagle Owl named Mr. Hoots, and climbing a thirty-foot-high chain link fence to rescue a trapped bald eagle. We follow Stotts as he educates children about birds of prey through his organization, Rodney’s Raptors, and trains his son to become a master falconer.

Stotts, the subject of the documentary film "The Falconer," deemed “compelling” by "The Washington Post," has now set his sights on a new goal: opening Dippy’s Dream, a raptor and animal sanctuary named in honor of his mother where underprivileged youth can camp, interact with animals, and find safety and peace in nature.

Eye-opening, witty, and moving, "Bird Brother" is a love letter to the raptors and humans who transformed what Stotts believed his life could be. It is an unflinching look at the uphill battle one Black child faced in pursuing a stable and fulfilling life, a testament to the healing power of nature, and a reminder of how anyone can give back to their community and pursue their dreams.

Raised in Southeast Washington, D.C., Rodney Stotts has achieved the highest level of master falconer. Stotts is an educator and the founder and director of Rodney’s Raptors. When he’s not on the sanctuary property located in Laurel, Maryland, Stotts lives on seven acres in Charlotte Court House, Virginia, where he is working to turn the property into a haven for underprivileged youth and anyone who is interested in learning about falconry, wildlife, and conservation. The finished project is called Dippy’s Dream, after Stotts’ deceased mother. His work has been featured in National Geographic, NPR, and other national outlets. He is the subject of the documentary The Falconer.

Kate Pipkin is a writer and editor living and working in Baltimore. She has contributed to the "Baltimore Sun," "Baltimore Magazine," "Johns Hopkins Magazine," and more.

"Humanity and hawks. The lines between two-legged and taloned blur beautifully in Bird Brother. Rodney Stotts’ life is more than a story of man and nature, it is a no holds barred bittersweet odyssey; the much-needed, uplifted, uniquely-hued heroic epic of a determined soul who through a love of wild birds, delivers a heart-rending lesson in how grounded possibilities can soar beyond perception. There is no more powerfully positive sign of these times than a hawk on Rodney's raised fist." —J. Drew Lanham, cultural & conservation ornithologist, birder, and author of "The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature"

"My overwhelming refrain to Rodney Stotts is ‘thank you.’ His story, and the pictures he paints as he tells it, are the most incredible demonstration of the substance of hope. He beautifully captures the complex, and often visceral, nature of finding life within death through the liberation that comes with 'looking up.'" — Corina Newsome, ornithologist and environmental activist

"Rodney Stotts' story is a tremendously moving tribute to the power of birds to transform a life. Searingly honest, "Bird Brother" is a love letter to the avian world from a fiercely dedicated master falconer and tireless conservationist who not only does the work—no matter how unglamorous—but also inspires others to see the beauty of nature and find their place within it." —Julia Zarankin, author of "Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder"

Founded in 1984, Island Press works to stimulate, shape, and communicate the information that is essential for solving environmental problems. Today, with more than 1,000 titles in print and some 30 new releases each year, it is the nation’s leading publisher of books on environmental issues. Island Press is driving change by moving ideas from the printed page to public discourse and practice. Island Press’s emphasis is, and will continue to be, on transforming objective information into understanding and action. For more information and further updates be sure to visit

Jaime Jennings
Island Press
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