A bright and introspective hawklet experiments and explores to discover abilities, places and companions, always with the intention of making the most of his life.
Rufous is sure he knows the 'whole' world: his mother, a blue roof, and a nest of sticks. Then a shock! His mother must be going somewhere else to get food! Quietly commanding, she won't let her "handful of dandelion fluff" try flying. Over 18 months we see Rufous proudly grow into the world, and we follow his introspective efforts to understand it. The parallel with human intellectual development is inescapable, and adeptly achieved.