Hardcover, 232 Pages.
This is a story of conservation told through the natural histories of two of the world's most fascinating birds, the Wood Duck of North America and the Mandarin of Asia. The only two species in their genus (Aix), these Northern Wood Ducks are native to different continents but have long been kept together in captivity. Now, for the first time in history, they are also flying side by side in the wild in a small area of northern California. This rare circumstance has given Lawton L. Shurtleff and Christopher Savage the opportunity to observe the Northern Wood Ducks' close relationship and is the starting point of this informative and beautifully rendered book.
The opening chapters tell how the Wood Duck and the Mandarin came to inhabit the Pacific Flyway and explain their extraordinary similarities. Subsequent chapters discuss the distinctive histories of the two species and describe the birds throughout the seasons in their native flyways. The Mandarins' place in Asian art and literature is the subject of Chapter Five. The final chapter illuminates the successful work done to protect the North American Wood Duck, which has made a remarkable recovery from near extinction, and the beginning efforts to protect the Mandarin, whose existence in East Asia is seriously threatened.
Stunning full-color photographs by renowned wildlife photographers, along with photographs by the authors, capture the exquisite beauty of these much revered birds. Detailed maps show the Wood Ducks' territory in North America and the Mandarins' territory in East Asia and Great Britain. Three appendices—plans for building nestboxes, instructions for banding birds, and lists of books and conservation organizations—and a thorough index are valuable resources in a book that will delight bird-lovers and general readers alike.
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