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The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story Kindle Edition

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Length: 257 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

“Finally, Robert Porter Allen gets the credit he deserves for his tireless work on behalf of the whooping crane. Kathleen Kaska movingly recounts an adventurous life dedicated to the preservation of endangered birds when the odds were overwhelmingly against success—a hurricane in the Caribbean, armed unrest in Cuba, an unwelcoming Canadian wilderness. Kaska’s narrative reads like an adventure novel!”—Elizabeth J. Rosenthal, author of Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

“Documents the valiant efforts to save endangered whooping cranes from the brink of extinction and tells the story through the life and times of one of its greatest champions.”—Joe Duff, founder, Operation Migration

Millions of people know a little bit about efforts to save the whooping crane, thanks to the movie Fly Away Home and annual news stories about ultralight planes leading migratory flocks. But few realize that in the spring of 1941, the population of these magnificent birds—pure white with black wingtips, standing five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan—had reached an all-time low of fifteen. Written off as a species destined for extinction, the whooping crane has made a slow but unbelievable comeback over the last seven decades.

This recovery would have been impossible if not for the efforts of Robert Porter Allen, an ornithologist with the National Audubon Society, whose courageous eight-year crusade to find the only remaining whooping crane nesting site in North America garnered nationwide media coverage. His search and his impassioned lectures about overdevelopment, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting triggered a media blitz that had thousands of citizens on the lookout for the birds during their migratory trips.

Allen’s tireless efforts changed the course of U.S. environmental history and helped lead to the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Though few people remember him today, his life reads like an Indiana Jones story, full of danger and adventure, failure and success. His amazing story deserves to be told.

From the Inside Flap

Millions of people know a little bit about efforts to save the whooping crane, thanks to the movie Fly Away Home and annual news stories about ultralight planes leading migratory flocks. But few realize that in the spring of 1941, the population of these magnificent birds—pure white with black wingtips, standing five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan—had reached an all-time low of fifteen. Written off as a species destined for extinction, the whooping crane has made an incredible and unlikely comeback.

This recovery would have been impossible if not for the efforts of Robert Porter Allen, an ornithologist with the National Audubon Society. Allen’s courageous nine-year crusade to find the last remaining whooping crane nesting site garnered nationwide media coverage. His search and his impassioned lectures about overdevelopment, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting triggered a media blitz that led to thousands of citizens helping to track the birds during their migratory trips.

In the decades since Allen and his team first searched for the whooping crane nesting site, the population has slowly increased. Dozens of organizations now see to their protection, and hundreds of scientists and volunteers help raise their young, document their numbers, lobby for funds, and devote innumerable hours to the white bird’s continued survival. Today, whooping cranes number close to 400 in the wild. While not as large a number as might be wished, biologists and ornithologists are encouraged by the increase.

During his quest to save diminishing bird populations, Allen lived weeks at a time in a tent, running tests in a makeshift laboratory, cooking over a wood fire, and fighting off annoying creatures raiding his camp. He rode out a hurricane on a boat powered only by one tattered sail, survived life-threatening illnesses and a vicious stray dog attack, endured extreme heat and cold, storms, mosquitoes, bloodsucking black flies, deadly stints of dehydration, and the start of the Cuban revolution. While searching the Canadian wilderness for the nesting site of the elusive whooping crane, he became lost for weeks after his only connection to the outside world, his radio, malfunctioned.

            Allen’s tireless efforts changed the course of U.S. environmental history and helped lead to the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Though few people remember him today, his amazing life reads like an Indiana Jones story, full of danger and adventure, failure and success.

 

Kathleen Kaska is the author of several books including the novel Murder at the Arlington.


Product Details

  • File Size: 2312 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (September 16, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 16, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0092WMWSK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,029 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kathleen Kaska, writer of fiction, nonfiction, travel articles, and stage plays, has just completed her most challenging endeavor. The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane:The Robert Porter Allen Story, a true story set in the 1940s and 50s, is about Audubon ornithologist Robert Porter Allen whose mission was to journey into the Canadian wilderness to save the last flock of whooping cranes before encroaching development wiped out their nesting site, sending them into extinction. Published by University Press of Florida, was released in 2012.
Kathleen also writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s. Her first mystery, Murder at the Arlington, won the 2008 Salvo Press Manuscript Contest. This book, along with her second mystery, Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the largest book group in the country. Before bringing Sydney into the world of murder and mayhem, Kaska published three mystery-trivia books, (The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. All three books were reissued in May 2012 by LL Publications.
Her latest two Sydney Lockhart books are: Murder at the Galvez and Murder at the Driskill.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story is a wonderful tale about an orinthologist who was assigned the seemingly impossible task of locating the last nesting side of the endangered whooping crane before the species disappeared. I'm not an avid birder, but this story captivated me. It tells of the struggles and dedication of Bob Allen, who in the 1940s set out into the Canadian wilderness to look for what amounts to a needle in a haystack. It was literally a race against time because there were only 15 whooping cranes left in the wild. But the book is more than just a story about saving an endangered species, Kaska also writes about Allen's personal struggles in balancing his work with his family life. For anyone who enjoys stories about unsung heros and adventure, this is the book for you. In the last part of the book, Kaska writes about the organization called Operation Migration, which is attempting to establish another wild flock of whooping cranes in the eastern United States. The founders of the organization were the inspiration behind the movie Fly Away Home. The stores about the young whooping cranes and what is involved in training them to follow lutralight planes had me laughing one minute and crying the next. I now follow their story daily on Facebook.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I love true stories about people who make a difference and The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane is one of the best I've read in a long time. The dedication and hard work that Robert Porter Allen gave to saving an endangered species is a true inspiration. The book is also an exciting read. Allen came very close to crashing his plane in a storm while in Canada, getting hypothermia when he was forced to land in icy water, and was lost in the woods for weeks when a pilot dropped him and his team in the wrong location. Despite the hardship and time away from his family, Allen persisted and his work paid off. Today, the population of whooping cranes numbers more than 300; a big improvement considering there were only 15 left in 1942.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karla Klyng on October 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane is a well-written and enjoyable book about the life of a man who gave so much of himself to make a difference in the world of birds. It's not just a biography; it's an adventure story that takes the reader all over North America. In writing about Robert Porter Allen's life and accomplishments, Kaska also gives a historical insight into the National Audubon Society, which I found just as fascinating as the story of saving the whooping cranes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Mastin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I was a kid growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, a common destination for weekend camping was the nearby Aransas Wildlife Refuge, winter home of the majestic whooping cranes. When I went to the World Scout Jamboree in Alberta, Canada, our troop flag featured a whooping crane, depicting the whooper's migratory path from south Texas to western Canada. One of the rarest birds in North America, the whooping cranes were nearly extinct, and still are endangered. They owe what existence they have, in large part, to the efforts of ornithologist Robert Porter Allen.

Even if you are not a bird lover or nature lover, and even if you think the environmentalist movement is a bit wacko, you will enjoy Kathleen Kaska's telling of Bob Allen's story. As an Audobon Society naturalist, who had studied roseate spoonbills and flamingos, tracking their migration and identifying their nesting grounds, he was the perfect candidate to save the whooping crane.

The whooping cranes' winter home on the Texas Gulf Coast was well-known. The federal government established the Aransas Wildlife Refuge in 1937 to protect the cranes' habitat and diet from hunting, fishing, and development. But their northern nesting sites remained a mystery for many years. Allen and his colleagues spent many summers scouring remote areas of the Canadian wilderness before they finally discovered where the whooping cranes summered.

Bird watching, stereotypically a rather dull pursuit, may not seem like material ripe for an engaging story. Allen himself acknowledged that "a casual but undeviating perseverance and ability to drink gallons of strong coffee can be reckoned among the filed ornithologist's most valuable assets.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pam on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love history, nonfiction, and wildlife. Put them together and you have The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane". Kathleen Kaska's book grabs your attention right at the beginning and as the story unfolds, you are drawn deeper into the life of Robert Porter Allen's dedication and difficult journey of finding and saving the whooping crane. Against all odds, a race against time, and the whooping cranes chances of survival decreasing with each passing year, you feel his pain, anguish, frustration and love for saving this crane. After reading this book, one will be astonished at how close we came to losing the whooping crane forever, all that it took to saving it and how far we've come. Although the population is on a slow increase, there is still more work to be done to ensure that the whooping crane will be around for generations to come. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to know what it takes to save a species from extinction.
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