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Bird Brother: A Falconer’s Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife — HBE ENGAGE BRIDGE BUILDER EVENT
February 15, 2022
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.
About Bird Brother: A Falconer’s Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife
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.