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In 1953, birding guru Roger Tory Peterson and noted British naturalist James Fisher set out on what became a legendary journey-a one hundred day trek over 30,000 miles around North America. They traveled from Newfoundland to Florida, deep into the heart of Mexico, through the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and into Alaska's Pribilof Islands. Two years later, Wild America, their classic account of the trip, was published. On the eve of that book's fiftieth anniversary, naturalist Scott Weidensaul retraces Peterson and Fisher's steps to tell the story of wild America today. How has the continent's natural landscape changed over the past fifty years? How have the wildlife, the rivers, and the rugged, untouched terrain fared? The journey takes Weidensaul to the coastal communities of Newfoundland, where he examines the devastating impact of the Atlantic cod fishery's collapse on the ecosystem; to Florida, where he charts the virtual extinction of the great wading bird colonies that Peterson and Fisher once documented; to the Mexican tropics of Xilitla, which have become a growing center of ecotourism since Fisher and Peterson's exposition.



About the Author

Scott Weidensaul

Born in 1959, Scott Weidensaul (pronounced "Why-densaul") has lived almost all of his life among the long ridges and endless valleys of eastern Pennsylvania, in the heart of the central Appalachians, a landscape that has defined much of his work. His writing career began in 1978 with a weekly natural history column in the local newspaper, the Pottsville Republican in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. The column soon led a fulltime reporting job, which he held until 1988, when he left to become a freelance writer specializing in nature and wildlife. (He continued to write about nature for newspapers, however, including long-running columns for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Harrisburg Patriot-News. ) Weidensaul has written more than two dozen books, including his widely acclaimed Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds (North Point 1999) , which was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. Weidensaul's writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Audubon (for which he is a contributing editor) , Nature Conservancy and National Wildlife, among many others. He lectures widely on conservation and nature, and directs the ornithological programs for National Audubon's famed Hog Island Center on the coast of Maine. In addition to writing about wildlife, Weidensaul is an active field researcher whose work focuses on bird migration. Besides banding hawks each fall (something he's done for nearly 25 years) , he directs a major effort to study the movements of northern saw-whet owls, one of the smallest and least-understood raptors in North America. He is also part of a continental effort to understand the rapid evolution, by several species of western hummingbirds, of a new migratory route and wintering range in the East. - excerpted from his website



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