The Ivory-bill has frequently been described as a dweller in dark and gloomy swamps, has been associated with muck and murk, has been called a melancholy bird, but it is not that at all—the Ivory-bill is a dweller of the tree tops and sunshine; it lives in the surroundings as bright as its own plumage."

- James T. Tanner, 1939

Friday, May 18, 2012

It made me cry at the end of the Afterward.

Ghost Birds, a review

I did a post recently on this amazing book. I had only begun reading it at that time. At its conclusion I have to tell you, it is a fascinating and enjoyable way to spend your reading time! I learned so much about the Ivory-bill but also about other birds and I was swept away by the discovery aspect of Jim Tanner's quest. 

Each trip into swamps and deep forested areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and elsewhere kept me on edge about the possibilities of finding the ghost birds. I was saddened by the widespread deforestation and the lack of understanding that fashion isn't the driving force in our planet! I was saddened by all the specimens that were collected even by experts.  

But, there was so much more to the story, and I loved every page of this well-written and beautiful account! Overall, it was an uplifting and hopeful rendering of an important education and conservation effort told by a wonderful writer and written about a man with a deep understanding and love of birds and of scientific knowledge. It was about a time in our history just prior to WWII when we were becoming more informed and aware of our natural world. I recommend this book to everyone who loves nature!

I just want to tell you how much the book means to me!  It made me cry at the end of the Afterward.  I felt my heart breaking over the "Trees for Tea" and other aspects of the Ivory-bill's death-knell.  And yet there were those glimmers of beautiful hope.  Sightings that may or may not be really true.  And I do believe with all my heart that we NEED that hope as human beings.  It allows all the negative things we have ever done as a race to the plants and animals that surround us to receive a shadow of possible absolution.  

Your writing is wonderful...I can't tell you that enough.  You did indeed have much more of a story to tell than just things about "a woodpecker."  I came to love Jim Tanner.  I would have been so proud to have been one of his students.  Please tell Nancy how much I respect him as a person and as a scientist, and how much I respect her for the person that she is as well

Marie from Tucson (Click here for her blog)

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