This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial…

Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild Sierra…

by Tim Gallagher

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
331514,209 (3.5)7
"Explorer and naturalist Tim Gallagher is obsessed with rare birds. A decade ago, Gallagher was one of the rediscoverers of the legendary ivory-billed woodpecker, which most scientists believed had been extinct for more than half a century--an event that caused an international stir. Now, in Imperial Dreams, Gallagher once again hits the trail, journeying deep into Mexico's savagely beautiful Sierra Madre Occidental, home to rich wildlife, as well as to Mexican drug cartels, in a perilous quest to locate the most elusive bird in the world--the imperial woodpecker, a giant among its clan. The imperial woodpecker's trumpetlike calls and distinctive hammering on massive pines once echoed through the high forests. Two feet tall, with deep black plumage, a brilliant snow-white shield on its back, and a crimson crest, the imperial woodpecker had largely disappeared fifty years ago, though reports persist of the bird still flying through remote mountain stands. In an attempt to find and protect the imperial woodpecker in its last habitat, Gallagher is guided by a map of sightings of this natural treasure of the Sierra Madre, bestowed on him by a friend on his deathbed. Charged with continuing the quest of a line of distinguished naturalists, including the great Aldo Leopold, Gallagher treks through this mysterious, historically untamed and untamable territory. Here, where an ancient petroglyph of the imperial can still be found, Geronimo led Apaches in their last stand, William Randolph Hearst held a storied million-acre ranch, and Pancho Villa once roamed, today ruthless drug lords terrorize residents and steal and strip the land. Gallagher's passionate quest takes a harrowing turn as he encounters armed drug traffickers, burning houses, and fleeing villagers. His mission becomes a life-and-death drama that will keep armchair adventurers enthralled as he chases truth in the most dangerous of habitats"--"Naturalist Tim Gallagher journeys deep into the savagely beautiful Sierra Madre, home to rich wildlife and other natural treasures--and also to Mexican drug cartels--in a dangerous quest to locate the rarest bird in the world--the possibly extinct Imperial Woodpecker, the largest of all carpinteros"--… (more)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

Scientists the world over are continually saddened by the news of threatened and endangered species. Every time a new animal is added to the list, there is a clamor of activity to study, preserve, and bolster that animal’s population. But what if an animal were stuck the gray area between endangered and extinct? What if the last documented sighting of a particular animal was 50 years ago? How much time has to pass before it can be declared extinct? These questions and many others are considered in Tim Gallagher’s latest bird book, Imperial Dreams.

Imperial Dreams chronicles the author’s many journeys to Northern Mexico to find a living example of the imperial woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis), a bird thought to have died out some time in the last fifty years. Every decade or so, though, somebody comes forward with a sighting or a story of its continued existence. So, Cornell ornithologist Tim Gallagher, who re-discovered the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas in 2004, gathered fellow bird-lovers and scientists to go on expeditions to Mexico to finally see if the bird had truly gone extinct.

The funny thing about his journey is that we get much more about the people and the countryside than about the birds themselves. Gallaghers includes every passage from just about every source for anyone having even a slight connection to the imperial. His exhaustive research into ornithological history and criss-crossing of the Mexican countryside to track down leads is quite inspiring.

The scientific aspects of this book, however, often take a back seat to the history of Northern Mexico. It has been ravaged by gangs, drug cartels, civil unrest, logging companies, and blatant disregard for perserving natural habitats. Every story of a scientific expedition is countered with an equally chilling tale of kidnapping and violence. This gets to you after a while. His journey into the Sierra Madre is well-written and teeming with wonderful details. While I won’t spoil his findings, I will say that the journey is worth it. Any lover of birds or nature will have fun with this one. ( )
1 vote NielsenGW | Mar 8, 2013 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.5)
3 2
3.5 1
4 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 138,910,064 books! | Top bar: Always visible