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The Jewel Hunter (WILDGuides) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 358 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"[A] highly entertaining read."--Jeremy Brock, Scottish Birds

"Do you have a 'plan B'--that secret dream you've quietly nurtured for much of your life? . . . The Jewel Hunter is the real-life story of one man who finally overcame inertia to devote eleven months of his life to his 'plan B': his obsession to see all living species of a small jewel-like songbird, the pittas . . . . [T]his rollicking tale is an engaging and compelling memoir that bird watchers, nature lovers and fans of travel literature will enjoy. This book is a must-read for those who (like me) are nurturing their own dream to go on a tropical birding expedition, and is essential reading for anyone who nurses their own secret 'plan B'."--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist

"Gooddie's twenty chapters are for the most part straightforwardly chronological, each devoted to one of the major destinations he visited in his quest. The result is a series of adventure tales, 'good reads' all, guaranteed to whet the reader's appetite for exotic locales and their birds. The color photos illustrating the accounts are unfailingly evocative, even--perhaps especially--the poor-quality images of some of the most elusive pitta species. Not a few of Gooddie's photos are the first ever published of the species depicted."--Rick Wright, ABA Blog

"Only two other birders have seen all the world's pittas, and neither of them had done so in a single year, but that's what Chris Gooddie set out to do.... The Jewel Hunter is the account of Chris Gooddie's search for these gems, and it's a gripping yarn. In his quest he stepped well off the beaten track. Indeed, to borrow Chris's writing style, he stepped right off the track, slid down the slope into the gully below, then crawled on his belly across the leech-infested forest floor to grab the beauties by the scruff of their beautifully patterned napes.... So, did Chris achieve his goal? I won't spoil the story's ending: it's a rollercoaster ride--and a great read."--Adrian Pitches, British Birds

"Stylistically informal, this book conjures up images so vivid it feels like you're riding pillion with Gooddie on his travels, from Uganda to the Solomon Islands, via Taiwan, Thailand and Timor.... [A] unique and readable story."--Steve Rutt,

"Each chapter of The Jewel Hunter reads like a mini-travel novel."--Donna Schulmann, 10,000 Birds

"The Jewel Hunter is a story any birder can relate to, whether or not you've ever done any sort of big year, or even if you have never heard of pittas. I knew very little about these birds before reading this book, and I had no idea what families the Bold-striped Tit-babbler or Jerdon's Baza belonged to, much less what they looked like. But it didn't matter; I still enjoyed reading about them. The Jewel Hunter belongs amongst the best big year/birding adventure books."--Grant McCreary, Birder's Library

"Self-deprecating, funny, and deadly accurate about [Gooddie's] obsession."--Stephen Bodio, Living Bird

"The Jewel Hunter is well written, includes humor, and makes for enjoyable reading."--FHB, Wildlife Activist

Product Details

  • File Size: 3630 KB
  • Print Length: 358 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1903657164
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 15, 2013)
  • Publication Date: February 15, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CSM2Y2A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a hardcore birder, and this is one of the best birding books I've ever read. The pittas are a near-mythical set of birds--for many of them it is hard to even find a field guide description. They are a group that serious birders dream about. The notion that it might be possible to see them all in a year was somewhat incredible to me. Gooddie has done a terrific job of describing the trials and travails associated with tracking them all down, along with the food he encountered along the way. Many of them are highly endangered, and he also describes the terrible habitat destruction that has happened where many of them live.

A real treat for any serious birder.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book tells the story of how Mr. Gooddie travelled thousands of miles (and spent thousands of dollars) trying to see all the species of Pittas (colorful but reclusive tropical birds) in one year. The book may have a special appeal for birders, but as a fine travel adventure, it can be enjoyed by a wider audience. I am a birder myself, but I have done most of my birding in the U.S. Before reading about Mr. Gooddie's excitement at seeing a Chestnut-capped Thrush, for example, I had never heard of the bird but still enjoyed his account of finding one. A lot of the book involves the pleasures and hardships of traveling to remote areas--interesting reading regardless of the reason for the journeys.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a bird watcher, you'll love this book and it'll remind you of all the times you've searched either successfully, or in vain, for that I especial bird. Pitta, antpitta, tapaculo or whatever. If you are an armchair traveler, this book will arm you with incidents off the beaten path events.... Many of which happen regularly to birders.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris spent a year pursuing all the world's pittas. He lets you experience all the highs and lows of the chase with him. Overall, I was glad it was him and not me but as armchair adventure, this is a very good book.
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