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Author Gehrman, Elizabeth

Title Rare birds : the extraordinary tale of the Bermuda petrel and the man who brought it back from extinction / Elizabeth Gehrman.

Publication Info. Boston : Beacon Press, [2012]


Location Call No. Status
 Newington, Lucy Robbins Welles Library - Adult Department  598.168 GEHRMAN    Check Shelf
 Plainville Public Library - Non Fiction  598.168 GEH    Check Shelf
 Windsor, Main Library - Adult Department  598.168 GE    Check Shelf
Description xi, 240 pages : map ; 24 cm
Contents The bird man of Bermuda -- The spoyle and havock of the cahowes -- Seeking the invisible -- Unraveling the mysteries -- Building a new, old world -- A discouraging decade -- Coming of age -- A habitat takes shape -- Leaving the nest -- Loose ends and ill winds -- Moving on, coming home.
Summary "The inspiring story of David Wingate, a living legend among birders, who brought the Bermuda petrel back from presumed extinction David Wingate is known in Bermuda as the birdman and in the international conservation community as a living legend for single-handedly bringing back the cahow, or Bermuda petrel--a seabird that flies up to 82,000 miles a year, drinking seawater and sleeping on the wing. For millennia, the birds came ashore every November to breed on this tiny North Atlantic island. But less than a decade after Bermuda's 1612 settlement, the cahows had vanished. Or so it was thought until the early 1900s, when tantalizing hints of their continued existence began to emerge. In 1951, two scientists invited fifteen-year-old Wingate along on a bare-bones expedition to find the bird. The team stunned the world by locating seven nesting pairs, and Wingate knew his life had changed forever. He would spend the next fifty years battling natural and man-made disasters, bureaucracy, and personal tragedy with single-minded devotion and antiestablishment outspokenness. In April 2009, Wingate saw his dream fulfilled, as the birds returned to Nonsuch, an island habitat that he had hand-restored, plant-by-plant, giving the Bermuda petrels the chance they needed in their centuries-long fight for survival"--Provided by publisher.
"Rare Birds is the story of how one man's obsession saved a species. Bermudian David Wingate was born in 1935, the same year a bird found dead at the foot of a lighthouse was identified as a cahow, or Bermuda petrel, by stunned scientists. Cahows, perhaps the most graceful and acrobatic flyers of the avian world, had been thought extinct for more than three centuries -- since shortly after humans arrived on this remote 21-square-mile island and ate them into oblivion. Despite the startling discovery, the possibility of finding these elusive, nocturnal birds alive was considered only slightly greater than that of lunching with Bigfoot. It wasn't until 1951 that American ornithologist Robert Cushman Murphy and Bermudian naturalist Louis Mowbray took a chance and mounted a bare-bones expedition to Castle Harbour, where the birds had last been seen in the early 1600s. Wingate went along for the ride, and when at length a cahow was pulled from deep within a rocky cliffside, it changed his life forever. "I had a calling," he says. "Bringing back the cahow was what I was meant to do.""--Provided by publisher.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Subject Bermuda petrel.
Rare birds.
Wingate, David, 1935-
ISBN 9780807010761 hardback
0807010766 hardback
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