cover image Among Penguins: A Bird Man in Antarctica

Among Penguins: A Bird Man in Antarctica

Noah Strycker. Oregon State Univ., $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-87071-629-4

At the age of 24, Strycker (associate editor at Birding magazine) has already studied birds on six continents and his evocative writing reveals enough wit, meticulous description, and passion to satisfy any nature writing enthusiast (particularly young ones). Fresh from undergrad, Strycker landed a 3-month winter internship in Antarctica studying penguins with two other bird scientists at the primitive Camp Crozier, where rough conditions prevailed. Strycker writes, "Birding, for me, was a gradual, insidious, and unforeseen addiction." His Antarctic Adelie penguin adventure is relayed with panache; the joy of his new addiction comes vibrantly, joyfully to life. The author includes some background (he won the American Birding Association's "Young Birder of the Year" prize at the age of 18, taking him to Ecuador, for instance). Particularly compelling are his accounts of the logistics of living in a cold, cramped hut, his daily tasks of penguin study, and dealing with Antarctic culture at the base camp. His style sometimes belies his age (vacillating between goofy, dorky, glib, and back), but his passion is timeless. 16 full-color photos. (Apr.)