The Imperative Call:
A Naturalist's Quest in Temperate and Tropical America

Alexander F. Skutch


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"The Imperative Call explores the making of an extraordinary naturalist... No one since W. H. Hudson has approached nature from such a consistent moral position. No one has tried so scrupulously to define the murky boundary ‘between science and vandalism...’ Ultimately, the reader comes to see Alex Skutch not so much as a naturalist or a farmer but as an artist."-- Audubon magazine

"Skutch offers us the botanical and zoological riches of the tropics, combining a gifted scientist’s powers of observation with a committed humanist’s reverence for life. Even those who have never been drawn to the tropics will find themselves entranced."-- American Birds

In The Imperative Call, Alexander F. Skutch recounts his early years growing up in Maryland and Maine and his adventures in Central America and Jamaica during the 1920s and 1930s, well before modernization affected the region, when the began his classic studies of nesting birds. Weaving precise descriptions of tropical plan, bird, and animal life into a personal philosophy about man and nature, the book is both autobiography and natural history.

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