Bill Bryson meets John Vaillant in this life list quest to see the rarest species in North America.
Crammed into a minivan with wife, toddler, infant, and dog, accompanied by mounds of toys, diapers, tent, sleeping bags, and other paraphernalia, Cameron MacDonald embarks on a road trip of a lifetime to observe North America's rarest species. In California, the family camps in the brutally hot Mojave, where he observes a desert tortoise"the size and shape of a bike helmet and the colour of gravel” sitting motionless in the shade of a scrubby sagebush. In Yellowstone, after driving through unseasonal snow, he manages to spot a rare black wolf and numerous grizzlies, which, unfortunately, call forth a crowd of "grizzly gawkers." The journey takes the MacDonald family from British Columbia, along the west coast of the U.S., through the Southwest and Florida, up the east coast of the U.S., and finally to eastern Canada and then back home to BC.
Along the way, MacDonald offers fascinating details about the natural history of the endangered species he seeks, as well as threats like overpopulation, commercial fishing, and climate change that are driving them towards extinction.
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About the Author
Cameron MacDonald teaches biology at Langara College in Vancouver, BC. He has also worked as a wildlife biologist across much of North America. His writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail , the Toronto Star and PRISM International.
Table of Contents
1 Where Have the Owls Gone? 10
2 Flight of the Phoenix 21
3 Desert Love 37
4 Among the Ancients 47
5 The Loneliest Road 54
6 Restless Nights in Grizzly Country 64
7 Home on the Range 89
8 Twitching for a Rare Bird 103
9 My Old Stomping Grounds 109
10 The Ghost Bird 130
11 The Siren's Song 142
12 Alligator Alley 153
13 The Eastern Seaboard 167
14 Chumming for a Right Whale 179
15 The Long Road Home 187
16 Out of Place in a Warming World 203