Cover image for Waiting to fly : my escapades with the penguins of Antarctica
Waiting to fly : my escapades with the penguins of Antarctica
Naveen, Ron.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 374 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.S473 N38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In Waiting to Fly, Naveen, who fell in love with penguins 16 years ago, describes these creatures at work and at play, in love and in death, interweaving stories of his own experiences as a field scientist in Antarctica. 16-page photo insert.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Penguins are one of the few species of birds that virtually anyone can identify; they are extremely popular animals, so this new book about studying penguins in Antarctica should find a wide audience. Naveen has worked with penguins for 16 years, monitoring populations, observing the entire breeding cycle, and leading tourist groups to see the world's seventh continent; and he writes with both affection for and scientific detachment from his subjects. Covering mainly the three brush-tailed penguins (Adelies, gentoos, and chinstraps), the author also interlaces quite a bit of the ecology of the Antarctic ecosystem into his narrative. His stories of guiding ecotourists reveal both his humor at the foibles of tourists and his earnest desire to teach them the importance of preserving the Antarctic. The history of the exploration of the region, as well as the findings of previous penguin researchers, is skillfully woven throughout the narrative. The timeless quality of the penguins' lives and the author's genuine fondness for them permeates the text and highly recommends the book for all libraries. --Nancy Bent

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lying between latitudes 60 and 70 South, the South Shetland Islands and the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula are a "banana belt" for three species of penguin?chinstrap, Adelie and gentoo. Naveen (Wild Ice) is the project director of the Antarctica Site Inventory, which studies environmental protection. He spends austral summers counting these penguins and observing their behavior. Their lives, he reports in this captivating book, revolve around food, sex, weather and turf. To travel between field sites and research stations, teams rely on expedition ships (with tourists) and the British Navy icebreaker Endurance, which supplies helicopters. Naveen deftly weaves his experience as field scientist and expedition leader with tales of earlier explorers, such as the two young poseur-adventurers, Thomas Bagshawe, 19, and Charles Lester, 23, who in the 1920s spent a year on the icy continent and produced the first life history of chinstraps and gentoos. But the real stars here are the penguins themselves. Naveen is transparently enamored of them, and his descriptions of their habits, their play, their love of little stones form the liveliest parts of his charming, if occasionally meandering, chronicle. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Naveen (Wild Ice: Antarctic Journeys, Smithsonian, 1990) is an authority on seabirds as well as director of the Antarctic Site Inventory. He is also a superb writer, as he proves with this absorbing story of personal adventures and penguin research. In addition, his book is a ranking Antarctic narrative helping readers to understand the importance of this vast, vulnerable, and rapidly changing region, where there is now an ozone hole larger than the United States and a loose iceberg bigger than Delaware. What happens here, aside from being inherently wondrous and interesting, also affects most of the rest of the world, through changes in sea level and global climate and probably in ways yet to be understood. Naveen's compelling stories reflect on such phenomena. His appealing penguins are ideal study subjects, barometers of the health of the seas, because they are abundant, tame, live in colonies, and return to the same places each year. Highly recommended.‘Henry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.