WHOOPING CRANE BOOK
THE BIRD THAT DEFIES EXTINCTION, FAITH MCNULTY, YEAR: 1966
This book is the story of a love affair -between a civilized sophisticated nation and an enormous, elusive bird. We, the people who slaughtered the bison and exterminated the passenger pigeon, have had a shift of conscience in the last fifty years and have made the preservation of rare species of wildlife one of our nationa.l conservation purposes. The Jdmired conservationist, Aldo Leopold, remarked when the last passen- ,geripigeon died: "For one species to mourn the death of another is a new thing under the sun. We, who have lost our pigeons, mourn the loss. Had the funeral been ours, the pigeons would hardly have mourned us. In this fact, rather than in nylons or atomic bombs, lies evidence of our superiority over the beasts." Faith McNulty has written of the whooping crane, a majestic, regal, shy bird of the wilderness, almost a relic of the Pleistocene, with great perception and ability. The rescue of this bird from the brink of extinction has become the symbol of our newly developed conservation conscience, and a lesson in the can-do art and science of wildlife management. This book tells of the steadfast devotion and dedicatiq,l to a bird; of many persons, particularly Robert P. Allen of the National iAudubon Societ;Y; of human mistakes, of Ipiscalculations, greed, neglect, skill; of the monumental effort of men and agencies, both private and governmental, to locate the nest- ing grounds in the Canadian far north, and to provide a safe sanctuary for the cranes on their wintering grounds which are 2,500 miles apart. It tells of the tender care of the young cranes by the parents, the ordeal of migration, the ordeal of trying to protect its habitat from man's technological means of advancement. It bugles the vital necessity of gathering scientific data on a wild creature and of carefully analyzing that data for facts and clues to be used in future management and preservation efforts. As mankind understands more about the creatures who share this planet with hiIri, he is at once ennobled and humbled. His own humanity is enlarged, and for a nation engaged in conserving almost 100 speeies of fauna threatened with extinction, the gift is supremely worth the effort.