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Wilted Wings

2023 Finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award


In this groundbreaking work, McTee, a hunter and wildlife researcher in western Montana, exposes a terrifying link between humans and eagles, while building the framework for how to safeguard these iconic raptors.


Highly recommended for anyone interested in how modern hunters are leading our nation’s conservation efforts.”  —Montana Outdoors


When two raptor biologists unexpectedly walk into Mike McTee’s kitchen with a golden eagle, the bird’s penetrating stare redirects McTee’s life. 


After years of research and speaking with dozens of raptor experts, McTee discovers eagles across the United States have toxic lead lacing their veins, often from scavenging hunting remains peppered with bullet fragments. Armed with a background in chemistry and a deep knowledge of hunting, McTee latches to the issue, becoming an ambassador for eagles and lead-free bullets. 


Weaving hunting stories and eagle encounters, Wilted Wings flies readers from Montana’s “Golden Eagle Highway” to wild British Columbia, and to the desolate Mongolian Steppe, where Kazakhs still hunt foxes with eagles. Drawing from historical records, wildlife research, and expert opinions, McTee illuminates the braided natural histories of humans and eagles, framing a path that would strip lead from the diets of these soaring icons.


McTee has conducted ballistics studies and hunted extensively with non-lead ammunition. For hunters interested in going lead-free, Wilted Wings finishes with a supplemental section that details how to find the right ammunition for your gun and understand its downrange capabilities.


"In McTee’s brilliant, heart-breaking first book, he illustrates through personal accounts of his experience with birds of prey, that lead poisoning is an ongoing problem and taking a terrible toll.I highly recommend Wilted Wings to all naturalists and hunters.”

—Stephen Bodio, author of An Eternity of Eagles



Wilted Wings

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