an obsessive 82,000-mile quest for dead birds, how much trouble can one
scientist get into?
the world's leading authority on the extinct Labrador Duck, Dr. Glen
Chilton, shares the story of his frenzied obsession to reveal the
histories behind the mysterious bird — a saga wherein he sets
out to examine the remains of every Labrador Duck, conduct genetic
analysis on every Labrador Duck egg, and visit every site where the
duck was shot...with many a (mis)adventure along the way.
than the Passenger Pigeon, the Dodo, or the Great Auk and
breeding in places so obscure that no certain records exist of its
nests, the Labrador Duck succumbed to extinction almost before anyone
realized it was in decline.
When Chilton began his travels, there were
thought to be approximately fifty stuffed specimens, scattered among
the museums of Europe and North America. However, as his search
progressed, it became clear that some specimens had been lost to war
and theft, while others lay hidden in far-flung collections, overseen
by secretive curators. After traveling the equivalent of 3.3 times
around the world with a series of oddball companions, Chilton finally
began to close in on every known specimen...but not before he risked
heavy-metal poisoning in Russia, swam naked in a glacier-fed stream,
corresponded with a millionaire murderer, and narrowly avoided arrest
in New York City.
A magnificent blend of travel writing, science, detective work, and
Curse of the Labrador Duck is
the zany adventure of one
biologist's obsessive quest to uncover the mysteries of one of the
world's most enigmatic birds.
The Curse of the
My Obsessive Quest to the Edge of Extinction
by Glen Chilton