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The race to save the Lord God bird
Phillip Hoose
Children's Fiction QL696.P56 H66 2004

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Despite this chronicle's suspenseful title, this particular race seems to be over, and the Ivory-billed woodpecker (whose observers gasped, "Lord God!") appears to have lost. Those who raced to save the Ivory-bill and its Southern U.S. habitat, reports Hoose (We Were There, Too!), were neither as swift nor as wealthy as those who raced to shoot it and turn its preferred sweet-gum trees into lumber. Yet Hoose shares a compelling tale of a species' decline and, in the process, gives a history of ornithology, environmentalism and the U.S. With memorable anecdotes from naturalist writers, he tells how researchers such as John James Audubon shot Ivory-bills for study; later, binoculars, cameras and sound equipment changed scientific methods. Hoose also charts pre-Endangered Species Act collecting, when people responded to a rare bird by killing and stuffing it. In 1924, a pair of Ivory-bills were spotted in Florida, but soon vanished; "[collectors] had asked the county sheriff for a permit to hunt them." Further, Hoose explains how wars and the changing economy brought timber companies and the free labor of German POWs to devastate the Ivory-bills' virgin forests. In restrained language, he tells a tragic tale. His liveliest chapters concern James Tanner, the Ivory-bills' champion, who camped in swamps and climbed giant trees to document a few birds in the 1930s. "Can we get smart enough fast enough to save what remains of our biological heritage?" Hoose asks in conclusion. To him, the Ivory-bill represents no less than wilderness itself; readers will sense the urgency that remains, even if the Ivory-bill is gone. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

How did the Ivory-billed woodpecker go from pages of Audubon's The Birds of America to extinction? The woodpecker's story is one of history's great conservationist dramas. Yet, for the Lord God Bird, the race to save it came too late. Something You (Probably) Didn't Know: In 1887, an ornithologist from the American Museum of Natural History performed a most unusual bird survey. Rather than look to the skies, he looked in milliner shop windows to determine how many plumes from rare bird species were being sold on women's hats. Why It Is for Us: Reading the book is like watching a train wreck when you have come to care very much about the victims. Luckily, in 2006, two years after the publication of the book, a team of ornithologists published a paper describing evidence of the existence of this reputedly extinct species in Arkansas. Perhaps this bird is still with us after all.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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