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Last of the Curlews

By: ,
Contributor Role: 
By (author)
Contributor Sequence Number: 
2
Contributor name: 
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Counterpoint
 | 
May, 2011
ISBN:
9781582437354
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Banyen's Description: 

First published in 1954, Last of the Curlews is a natural history classic and one of the most beautiful, heart-breaking-open stories you will ever read. Fred Bodsworth, an articulate Canadian ornithologist, tells in the form of a novel of a solitary Eskimo curlew’s perilous nine-thousand-mile migration from its springtime mating ground within the Arctic Circle to the tip of South America and back again. Talk about one of Creation’s Great Natural Athletes!  This “bird’s-eye-view” of how the migratory flight of the last, or one of the last, of the Eskimo curlews might have taken place is illustrated with beautiful drawings of curlews and landscapes.

Wanton hunting and the destruction of habitat brought this graceful and once plentiful shorebird to the brink of extinction by the beginning of the 20th century.

With the skill of a trained naturalist and a direct and elegant prose style, Bodsworth conveys the mechanics of the curlew’s remarkable flight and its instinctive search for others of its kind. The lone survivor comes to stand for the entirety of a lost species, and indeed for all in nature that is endangered.

The curlews leveled off close to the cloud layer and flew toward the peak. Flight was painful and slow. They flew with bills open, gasping the thin air. Their bodies ached...

They had been silent all day, for the high altitude flight took all the energy their bodies could produce, but now the male called excitedly as he led the female sharply downward between the walls of cloud.

A must-read for birders and bird watchers alike, this new edition includes a foreword by poet W.S. Merwin and an afterword by physicist Murray Gell-Mann.

Publisher’s Description: 

In this conservation classic, originally published fifty-five years ago, Fred Bodsworth tells the story of a solitary Eskimo curlew's perilous migration and search for a mate. The lone survivor comes to stand for the entirety of a species on the brink of extinction, and for all in nature that is endangered. This new paperback edition includes a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin and an afterword by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann.

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