Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continents Natural Soul
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His writing career began in with a weekly natural history column in the local newspaper, the Pottsville Republican in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. The column soon led a fulltime reporting job, which he held until , when he left to become a freelance writer specializing in nature and wildlife. He continued to write about nature for newspapers, however, including long-running columns for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Weidensaul has written more than two dozen books, including his widely acclaimed Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds North Point , which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In addition to writing about wildlife, Weidensaul is an active field researcher whose work focuses on bird migration. He is a co-director of Project Owlnet, a collaborative effort among nearly banding and research stations across North America studying owl migration, and for nearly 20 years he has directed a major effort to study the movements of northern saw-whet owls, one of the smallest and least-understood raptors in North America.
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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 30, Megan Hart rated it really liked it. An excellent view of both the good and bad things that come with our natural areas. The author gives a realistic view to what we have done to the Earth, including ripping Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg a new one for their garish tourist attractions. He describes the natural beauty and the wonderful conservation efforts being implemented to save our wild heritage.
He also gives a sobering view of what we have done to our natural lands since we first colonized this beautiful continent. If you want a An excellent view of both the good and bad things that come with our natural areas. If you want a good eye opening view of how the country has changed from the original book "Wild America", this is an excellent choice.
If you want to continue to stick your head in the sand about global warming and the atrocities committed by the Bush administration to the environment and our public lands, this is definitely not the book for you. Jan 17, Jackie rated it really liked it. He highlights differences observed, which tend to be a decline of habitat, etc.
I particularly appreciate the discussion on the water problems of the Klamath Basin. It is pointed out that the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the only national refuge jointly managed jointly by the U. Great description of the winter wren's song. Feb 03, Cheryl rated it really liked it. Okay, lots of development, nature paved over; but what does it actually mean? And the author presents all these sobering facts with exquisitely, I mean exquisitely, detailed descriptions of the flora and fauna he encounters.
It is so exquisite, and this is a book that deserves the overuse of the term, that I walked outside for days looking more closely and wishing I could describe such ordinary wonders in such exquisite detail. I imagine if I were a naturalist or botanist, all the walks and hikes I traverse could be described in such a way, if I just had the words and names for everything. The main purpose of the book is to retrace the steps of birders Roger Peterson and James Fisher who in took days to travel across North America and detailed the birds and landscape they saw. One of the biggest risks to the Appalachians is invasive foreign species as well as insects like the adelgid brought from Asia that have decimated the hemlocks.
There is something called sudden oak death syndrome, from a fungus that has destroyed many West Coast oaks and which was accidentally sent to the East Coast on infected nursery stock; early reports say the Appalachian red oak is even more vulnerable, and could be devastating. Seeing the pine beetle devastation in Colorado has been humbling, and yet not as scary as devastation to more complex ecosystems like in the East.
Pretty sure I have never seen a male frigatebird, though!
It is black pelican- looking bird with a large red pouch males only that inflates to attract a mate sorry all you naturalists and birders who ready my casual, pathetic descriptions! Just learning this makes me smile, makes me, again, love this earth even more. While the author decides the brown noddy wins the most beautiful seabird award, I will vote for the sooty tern over and over…I highly recommend the Internet Bird Collection for photos and videos of birds!
It holds over species of birds more than half the total found in North America and more than types of butterflies. I missed out, totally. Looking at the great kiskadee, parula warbler, and hook billed kite, I decided I would become a birder. They are all lovely, with little quirks that make them so interesting, and if I am tired of photographing the landscape, I can photograph birds.
A lifetime of birds!
It is located in the temperate and tropical zones and mixes the southernmost population of black bears with the northernmost spider monkeys. Its cloud forest has more than 30 oak species and 14 pine species. Mexico has bears? And mountains feet high? Okay, I can believe that, but I had no earthly idea, and am not sure I believe it, the highest point in Mexico is the Pico de Orzaba volcano at 18, feet above sea level. Did not know this. It has been a while since I visited Grand Canyon, but when I went oh, 6 times, I always, always could find a place off the beaten track to sit and absorb the indescribable beauty in front of me.
All that geology can do, paraded in the pages of a living textbook.
As I looked into the crater, I felt like a boxer coming up for the last round. But it hurt to think. The intolerable blue of the lake, which infected every snow slope, swamped with emotion my flickering power of analysis…we better not go to any more national parks. I get it. I love the way he writes about it. Even though the wet duff and moss ate my footsteps, I moved carefully; I even tried to clear my throat quietly. It was also the recognition of being in the presence of something extraordinarily old and a little bit intimidating.
And yet, at the same time, the trees brought out in me a wholly unexpected reaction.
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I had a fierce desire to leap into the air, to throw my arms high with some guttural, paganistic bark of exuberance, to scramble among the moss draped nurse logs and the buttressed redcedars cackling like a happy child. The woods were thrumming with life, if lived a t a slower and more majestic pace than mine. And the tension between those two impulses —reverential silence and wild exhilaration-had me vibrating like a plucked wire. Beneath such beauty and such life, how could he possibly sing anything less exultant?
Amen, glory be. Aug 18, Mary Richmond rated it it was amazing. Feb 14, Chris Leuchtenburg rated it liked it Shelves: nature , travel. Weidensaul uses a trip following Peterson's famous cross country birding trip 50 years earlier to catalog the devastation that rapacious, greedy, numerous, or just plain heedless humans have wreaked on our beleaguered natural environment.
He touches most of the sad stories: over hunting and fishing, water withdrawals, clear cuts of old growth forests, etc. Only occasionally, notably in the Pacific Northwest, does he a "There was life here still -- and with it, hope. Only occasionally, notably in the Pacific Northwest, does he allow himself to express the joy and wonder that suffused his Living On the Wind, which I had enjoyed earlier this winter. Unfortunately, he certainly doesn't overstate the case, it just makes for a dispiriting read. Occasionally, Weidensaul lets loose his real feelings, such as during this delicious description of the decision not to protect a population of Marbled Murrelets: "Conservation groups like Audubon attacked the move as policy based on junk science, but that's being too kind; it was the kind of sop to industry that has been a hallmark of the Bush administration, notable only for the especially shameless way in which it was done.
Frankly, the description of the Navy's attempt to persuade a court to allow it to turn a Pacific rookery into a bombing range was worth the effort of reading the book. To paraphrase, the navy observed that the bombing would be good for birders, who get so much more pleasure seeing a rare bird than a common one. In some ecstatic future, perhaps all birds will be rare. Scott Weidensaul has never been on a par, in my mind, with other writers of his ilk: not as garrulous as David Quammen or as urgent as Rachel Carson or as hard-edged as Gordon Grice.
This book is more of his usual: quiet musings on a beautiful but fragile world, punctuated by calm and reasoned pleas to preserve it; not, to be fair, a boring or worthless subject, but limp and insipid. In the present book, Weidensaul retraces the journeys of an obscure pair of British nationalists to gain some pers Scott Weidensaul has never been on a par, in my mind, with other writers of his ilk: not as garrulous as David Quammen or as urgent as Rachel Carson or as hard-edged as Gordon Grice.
In the present book, Weidensaul retraces the journeys of an obscure pair of British nationalists to gain some perspective of the ecology of the North American continent. An interesting story, if only Weidensaul had told it; instead, it becomes background noise to his own journey, which, sadly, passes by in a vague smear of bird sightings, quirky-but-undistinguished characters and mushy, insubstantial prose.
It shows some life when Weidensaul takes some well-warranted shots at the Bush administration's attempts to thwart conservation efforts, but that's the only time the book shows its teeth. If you're a fan of Weidensaul, you'll like this. If you're looking for a more substantial and serious perspective of America's natural history, or a moving and memorable portrait of the American wilderness, look elsewhere.
View 1 comment. Oct 23, Julia rated it really liked it Shelves: environmental-nature. At times depressing from its contemplation of the damage we have done to the land and wildlife, the book still manages to maintain a muted optimism; Weidensaul notes a number of examples of places or species that were thought to be irreparably damaged, and which have instead bounced back and - occasionally - flourished, thanks to determined groups fighting for them.
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Even as a non-birder, I enjoyed Weidensaul's writing, much of which was at its most lyrical when describing birds. Even though he is obviously primarily interested in birds, this book does not come across as a book solely for bird enthusiasts.