"Wings For My Flight," Marcy Cottrell Houle

Alone on Chimney Rock during the summer of 1975, fledgling biologist Marcy Cottrell Houle writes with grit and grace about her experience studying one of the seven last pairs of wild peregrines surviving in the Rocky Mountains in Wings For My Flight.

“The fact that I was only twenty-one years old, an untested wildlife biologist straight from college, didn’t seem of consequence to me, but apparently it made a difference to some people. The day before at the local Forest Service office I had expected a welcome reception when I introduced myself and asked to see Mr. Preston Fitch, an administrator involved with the project. Barry Layne, senior biologist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and my supervisor, had explained that the peregrines were nesting on Forest Service land, and I took for granted that federal officials would be enthusiastic in cooperating with us in the study.

But upon hearing my business, the secretary’s smile sunk. And, as I sat down in the lobby to wait, several heads glanced over in my direction as she passed by them, murmuring and swinging her long, blonde hair. After several minutes, a slight of build middle-aged man appeared, his chestnut eyes set in a frown. Smiling, I rose to meet him for I knew this must be Mr. Fitch.

"Barry Layne sent you?" he asked.


He shook his head. "Why, you can’t be more than a college freshman. You’re much too young for this kind of work. I will speak to Mr. Layne later today."

Next Chapter: "The First Day," by Joseph Drake