A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey

Jonathan Meiburg. Knopf, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-1-101875-70-4
Meiburg elevates himself to the top ranks of science writers with this enthralling debut on the obscure caracara. A family of birds, caracaras can be found in South America and resemble a “cross between a hawk and a raven.” Meiburg notes how the caracara, with its reputation for stealing people’s hats and other valuables, fascinated Charles Darwin, but he never pursued the questions they’d raised for him, including why they chose the Falkland Islands “for their metropolis.” Meiburg follows a Falklands Conservation biologist to find a dead caracara that “looked like he collapsed from exhaustion” and investigates the rare chimango caracara as its killer, and learns from a falconer (with a devotion to a caracara named Tina) that the birds’ intelligence and sociability are remarkable. Meiburg’s evocative prose (“on the sandstone heights, clusters of wild guanacos turned red and gold in the sun, snorting and whinnying to let us know we were seen”) will bring armchair naturalists into the wild with him. Fans of literary nature narratives will be thrilled by his lyrical account, and eager to see where Meiburg goes next. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/08/2021
Release date: 03/30/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-8976-0
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-101-91154-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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