Spix's Macaw

Spix's Macaw The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird

Paperback (05 May 2003) | English

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Synopsis

An environmental parable for our times - the story of a beautiful blue bird meeting its nemesis at the end of the 20th-century.

In December 1897 the Reverend F. G. Dutton lamented that 'there are so many calls on a parson's purse, that he cannot always treat himself to expensive parrots.' He was hoping to purchase a Spix's Macaw, a rare and beautiful parrot found in a remote area of Brazil. Today, the parson's search would be in vain. By the turn of the millennium only one survivor, a lone male, existed in the wild.

Spix's Macaw tells the hearbreaking story of a unique band of brilliant blue birds - who talk, fall in love, and grieve - struggling against the forces of extinction and their own desirability. By the second half of the 20th-century the birds became gram for gram more valuable than heroin; so valuable that they drew up to $40,000 on the black markets. When, in 1990, only one was found to be living in the wild, an emergency international rescue operation was launched and an amnesty declared, allowing private collectors to come forward with their illegal birds, possible mates for the last wild Spix.

In a breathtaking display of stoicism and endurance, the loneliest bird in the world had lived without a mate for fourteen years, had outwitted predators and second-guessed the poachers. But would he take to a new companion? Spix's Macaws are like humans - they can't be forced to love. With exquisite detail, this book tells the dramatic story of the rescue operation, and of the humans whose selfishness and greed brought a beautiful species to the brink of extinction. The long, lonely flight of the last Spix's Macaw is both a love story and an environmental parable for our times.

About the Publisher

4th Estate

4th Estate

With a heritage stretching back nearly 200 years, HarperCollins is one of the world's foremost English-language publishers, offering the best quality content right across the spectrum, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction to digital hymnbooks and pretty much everything in between. In the UK, the Glasgow-based William Collins & Sons was founded in 1819 and published a range of bibles, atlases and dictionaries, later including classic authors HG Wells, Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. The original Harper Brothers Company was established in New York City in 1817 and over the years published the works of Mark Twain, the Bronte Sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. In 1987, Harper & Row, as it had then become, was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide group was formed following News Corp's 1990 acquisition of William Collins & Sons. Today we publish some of the world's foremost authors, from Nobel prize-winners to worldwide bestsellers recent successes including the Booker-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, and George RR Martin's blockbusting A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Book information

ISBN: 9781841156514
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Imprint: 4th Estate
Pub date:
DEWEY: 639.97871
DEWEY edition: 21
Language: English
Number of pages: 306
Weight: 248g
Height: 196mm
Width: 129mm
Spine width: 19mm