The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane
The Robert Porter Allen Story
"Finally, Robert Porter Allen gets the credit he deserves for his tireless work on behalf of the whooping crane. Kathleen Kaska movingly recounts an adventurous life dedicated to the preservation of endangered birds when the odds were overwhelmingly against success--a hurricane in the Caribbean, armed unrest in Cuba, an unwelcoming Canadian wilderness. Kaska's narrative reads like an adventure novel!"--Elizabeth J. Rosenthal, author of Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson
"Documents the valiant efforts to save endangered whooping cranes from the brink of extinction and tells the story through the life and times of one of its greatest champions."--Joe Duff, founder, Operation Migration
Millions of people know a little bit about efforts to save the whooping crane, thanks to the movie Fly Away Home and annual news stories about ultralight planes leading migratory flocks. But few realize that in the spring of 1941, the population of these magnificent birds--pure white with black wingtips, standing five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan--had reached an all-time low of fifteen. Written off as a species destined for extinction, the whooping crane has made a slow but unbelievable comeback over the last seven decades.
This recovery would have been impossible if not for the efforts of Robert Porter Allen, an ornithologist with the National Audubon Society, whose courageous eight-year crusade to find the only remaining whooping crane nesting site in North America garnered nationwide media coverage. His search and his impassioned lectures about overdevelopment, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting triggered a media blitz that had thousands of citizens on the lookout for the birds during their migratory trips.
Allen's tireless efforts changed the course of U.S. environmental history and helped lead to the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Though few people remember him today, his life reads like an Indiana Jones story, full of danger and adventure, failure and success. His amazing story deserves to be told.
Kathleen Kaska is a professional writer and the author of several books including the novel Murder at the Arlington.
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"Tells a story that will resonate with everyone who reads it, whether you love birds, conservation success stories, or biographies, or if you want hard evidence that one person really CAN make a difference in this indifferent world."
--The Guardian - GrrlScientist
"Gives life to accounts of scientists living in isolated rural areas in the 1940s, and makes much of what they achieved understandable on a human level."
"strong, quick read…"
--Book News Inc.
"A powerful nature account highly recommended for any natural history collection."
--The Midwest Book Review
"Kathleen Kaska has done a masterful job of writing about a man few people know… Kaska's book is one to be read by not only birders but all who realize the interconnectedness of all species. I hope you make time to read this extremely well researched and documented book."
--The Galveston County Daily News
"Black flies, mosquitoes, dehydration- Allen endured them all and more…Kaska reminds us of the extraordinary effort required to keep a magnificent bird from slipping into oblivion."
"Competent,straightforward, and evocative."
--The Bookwyrm's Hoard (blog)
"Reads like the adventure story it is; a story of one man’s dedication to these birds…I couldn’t put it down!"
--Texas NOW Magazine
"A compelling personal story"
--The American Ornithologists' Union
"After years of grueling, life-threatening exploration by foot, canoe, and footplane, Audubon ornithologist Robert Allen found the [nesting] site...his remarkable feat is documented in Kathleen Kaska’s book."
"A great read."