In a 1968 speech to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Senegalese ecologist Baba Dioum said, “In the end, we will protect only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.” And there is the nutshell necessity behind A Chorus of Cranes—magnificent photos and illustrations, natural history, biology, and conservation efforts for the whooping, sandhill, and other crane species—and readers will be far more likely to join the effort to preserve crane habitat.
The remarkable crane is one of the oldest bird groups. North America’s sandhill crane has not changed in nine million years, according to fossil finds in Nebraska. From South Africa to the Arctic, footprints confirm that cranes have been vocalizing their deep-throated call (whooping cranes have sixty-two-inch tracheas) for sixty million years.
This invaluable project pairs perhaps the world’s foremost authority on ornithological studies, Paul A. Johnsgard, with Thomas D. Mangelsen, one of American Photo magazine’s 100 Most Important People in Photography. With particular focus on sandhill and whooping cranes, and shorter chapters on the world’s thirteen other crane species, Johnsgard and Mangelsen showcase social behavior, migratory habits, anatomy, natural habitats, and fascinating crane lore. These ancient creatures, with their all-too-human features, finally have a book that solidifies their high perch on this planet.
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