Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (1)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374199442, Hardcover)Acclaimed writer Peter Matthiessen, a self-professed "craniac," has been observing and studying all kinds of birds most of his life, but his pursuit of cranes is closer to a spiritual quest than a naturalist's exercise. These majestic, mythic, and notoriously shy birds, capable of soaring at heights of 20,000 feet, are often fond of remote and rugged places, so just locating the birds can be difficult enough, determining an accurate number often impossible. Some locales, such as the breeding grounds on the Platte River in Nebraska, boast flocks half a million strong--"by far the greatest crane assemblies on earth"; other areas support only a precious few. Matthiessen's search for 15 different species of cranes has taken him to hidden corners of Siberia, China, Mongolia, Tibet, Sudan, and Australia (where Atherton cranes were not even discovered until 1961). Despite his many years of adventure and wide travels, each crane sighting is still a thrill for him, and his curiosity and contagious enthusiasm bring the book alive. But The Birds of Heaven also serves as an ecological warning: "Perhaps more than any other living creatures, they evoke the retreating wilderness, the vanishing horizons of clean water, earth, and air upon which their species--and ours, too, though we learn it very late--must ultimately depend for survival." --Shawn Carkonen
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:45 -0400)
"Cranes are ubiquitous in the earliest legends of the world's peoples, where they often figure as sentinels of heaven and omens of longevity and good fortune. For their great beauty and imposing size - they are the largest of all flying birds on earth - they are held near-sacred in many lands. Their broad wilderness habitat requirements make them "umbrella species": protecting them ensures that other creatures and the earth and water of the ecosystem are also protected. In addition, the enormous spans of cranes' migrations have encouraged international conservation efforts." "In The Birds of Heaven, Peter Matthiessen chronicles his many journeys in search of the world's fifteen species of cranes. From the vast taiga of Siberia's Amur basin and the Mongolian steppe, breeding grounds for the glorious red-crowned and white-naped cranes, his travels take him to India, Bhutan, China, Japan, and Korea, then on to Australia, Africa, and western Europe (where the native crane is being encouraged to return), and finally to Wisconsin, Nebraska, the Gulf Coast, and Florida, where ingenious efforts are under way to establish a nonmigratory population of the rare whooping crane. He is accompanied by erudite and passionate ornithologists and "craniacs," along with many fascinating regional people, from Mongolian nomads to Gujarati nawabs. Through their eyes as well as his own, he portrays the astonishingly tenacious cranes' struggles to survive in a rapidly developing world in which man is leaving less and less place for other creatures. He also captures the deep loss to humankind should these majestic creatures - their majesty illuminated by Robert Bateman's eloquent renderings - be permitted to disappear."--BOOK JACKET.
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.