One subzero morning, as Dan O’Brien approaches his fiftieth year, the autumnal equinox of his life, he takes stock. Feeling a waning sense of purpose, he decides to devote himself entirely, for the first time in his life, to his greatest loves—falconry, his bird dogs, and the prairie he calls home.
That summer he obtains a remarkable falcon chick who immediately distinguishes herself by her ferocity. He names the bird Harley and trains her in the ways of falconry. Harley’s powers of flight are awe-inspiring, her hunting success astounding, and like a lover, she captivates him. O’Brien hunts with her obsessively, reveling in her prowess and beauty. What he learns from her and from what happens one wind-driven day lead him to see fully things he had only just begun to glimpse.
For twenty years Dan O’Brien struggled to make ends meet on his cattle ranch in South Dakota. But when a neighbor invited him to lend a hand at the annual buffalo roundup, O’Brien was inspired to convert his own ranch, the Broken Heart, to buffalo. Starting with thirteen calves, “short-necked, golden balls of wool,” O’Brien embarks on a personal journey that returns buffalo to his land for the first time in more than a century and a half.
Buffalo for the Broken Heart is at once a tender account of the buffaloes’ first seasons on the ranch and an engaging lesson in wildlife ecology. Whether he’s describing the grazing pattern of the buffalo, the thrill of watching a falcon hone in on its prey, or the comical spectacle of a buffalo bull wallowing in the mud, O’Brien combines a novelist’s eye for detail with a naturalist’s understanding to create an enriching, entertaining narrative.
Wild Idea Buffalo Company is excited to announce Dan O'Brien's new book, Wild Idea, Buffalo & Family in a Difficult Land. Dan's new book is currently available and each copy is signed by the author himself.
Wild Idea is a book about how good food choices can influence federal policies and the integrity of our food system, and about the dignity and strength of a legendary American animal. It is also a book about people: the daughter coming to womanhood in a hard landscape, the friend and ranch hand who suffers great tragedy, the venture capitalist who sees hope and opportunity in a struggling buffalo business, and the husband and wife behind the ranch who struggle daily, wondering if what they are doing will ever be enough to make a difference. At its center, Wild Idea is about a family and the people and animals that surround them - all trying to build a healthy life in a big, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous land.
Great Plains BISON traces the history and the ecology of this American symbol from the origins of the great herds that once dominated the prairie to their near extinction in the late nineteenth century and the subsequent efforts to restore the bison population. Dan draws on both extensive research and decades of his own personal experience. He details not only the natural history of the bison but also its prominent symbolism in Native American culture and its rise as an icon of the Great Plains. Great Plains BISON is a tribute to the bison's essential place at the heart of the North American prairie and its ability to inspire advocates in the fight to preserve American biodiversity. A must-read!