From Scientific American
This book is an outstanding example of the behind-the-recent-headlines genre. It tells the story of the obsessive quest to find the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was feared to be extinct (no confirmed sightings since 1944). Big, mysterious, iconic, the bird is "a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with our relationship to the environment." In the 19th century, it was plundered by collectors, and in the 20th, extensive habitat destruction seemingly drove it to extinction.
Gallagher, editor of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's publication Living Bird, has searched for the bird off and on for three decades. One day in February 2004 he read a posting on a canoe club Web site about a strange woodpecker that a kayaker named Gene Sparling had seen on a float trip down a remote bayou in eastern Arkansas. Less than two weeks later Gallagher and his fellow seeker, Bobby Ray Harrison, were in the swamp with Sparling, looking for the elusive bird. As readers of headlines know, they found it. The discovery gives us, Gallagher writes, "one final chance to get it right, to save this bird and the bottomland swamp forests it needs to survive."
Editors of Scientific American
Gallagher displays his passion for conversation, competition, and wildlife in his account of the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpeckera remarkable event. His conversational tone allows readers to engage in this adventure. But to critics chagrin, Gallagher attacks members in the scientific community, whom he claims did not do enough in their search to rediscover this lost species. Despite this criticism, readers will stay close on Gallaghers heels throughout his adventure, learn about the history of this rare bird, and consider what its rediscovery means for conservation.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.