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Cranes: A Natural History of a Bird in Crisis Hardcover – 6 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd (6 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155407343X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554073436
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.2 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,289,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Beautifully done.--Lois Cooper"Muskoka Today" (11/13/2008)

About the Author

Janice Hughes is a biology professor at Lakehead University. A member of the Society of Conservation Biologists and the American Ornithologists' Union, she is also the author of "The Royal Ontario Museum Field Guide to the Birds of Ontario." She lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith Betton on 6 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are only a small number of bird families that are so memorable that you can easily remember exactly when and where you have seen them - and the Crane family is one of these. If you've never seen a crane of any type then seriously think about visiting France or Spain this winter and if you go to the right place you will see maybe 10,000 Common Cranes which spend the winter in huge flocks. Whether they are in huge numbers or just in a tiny flock, for me they are just magical.

This book is a Canadian production written by Janice Hughes of Lakehead University in Ontario. There are 15 species in the Crane family and it is a truly universal group that can be found in all the main continents around the world and each is described briefly with a distribution map and two pages of general information. There is also a lengthy chapter looking into crane

But despite its title, this book is really about the Whooping Crane which breeds in a remote part of Canada and then migrates to the Texas coastline for the winter. No less than 154 pages are devoted to telling the story of how the species declined over the centuries to recover dramatically with a huge amount of help from conservationists. Historical photographs illustrating how it became fashionable for ladies to wear the feather of a Whooping Crane on their hats mirror the way that in Europe the Little Egret was plundered. Unlike the Little Egret, the Whooping Crane was also a favourite target for sports hunters.

It is a well-known story, and the recovery of the Whooping Crane is well-documented elsewhere.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An engaging story about a majestic bird 15 Oct. 2009
By David Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Janice Hughes explores the natural history of the 15 species of cranes in the opening chapter. We learn about all aspects of these birds including habitat, distribution, behavior, breeding, and seasonal movements. Her writing is clear, informative, and easy to read. The chapter concludes with the issues of conservation, examining the most significant challenges that cranes are experiencing today throughout the planet.

It is in the second and subsequent chapters that the book really takes off. The author examines the Whooping Crane in detail. This once abundant North American bird was reduced to just a dozen or so survivors in the 1940s. Hughes meticulously researches the hunt for the surviving birds, and the trials and errors that were part of the extraordinary efforts to save them. She captures the personalities, the heros, and the villains in an imaginative and engaging way not usually found in popular science books. The efforts of Operation Migration are highlighted as well. This group patiently teaches young whoopers how to migrate to Florida every autumn using tiny ultralight aircraft to lead the flocks south.

Hughes puts a human face on the Whooping Crane story. The book stars both this beautiful bird and the humans who have helped to rescue it from the brink of extinction. Today, there are more than 500 Whooping Cranes alive in North America. It is a hopeful book and a good read.
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