Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour 2010 - Shortlisted
William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Non-Fiction) - Shortlisted
About the Book
Little is known about the Labrador Duck, which once populated eastern North America but has been extinct for more than 100 years. Stuffed specimens, housed under glass in museums and in private collections worldwide, are rare -- only 55 are known to exist. Even more rare is the kind of scientist who would, given the task of writing a small species account about the Labrador Duck, travel around the globe more than three times in search of every last stuffed bird. And what about the curse? Everyone who has owned a stuffed specimen has come to a bad end, whether going to jail or dying under mysterious circumstances.
But Chilton is a rare specimen himself, and a biologist with a self-professed obsessive personality. (“They say that some children suck their thumb while still in the womb; I spent those nine months chewing my fingernails.”) His pursuit of the extinct species took him to the ducks’ breeding habitat on Canada’s east coast, as well as on many adventures in Europe and America as he searched museums and personal collections. Over the course of his epic journey, Chilton encountered a colourful flock of scientists, journalists and amateur ornithologists. He also endured numerous hangovers, swam naked in a glacier-fed stream and narrowly avoided arrest in New York City.
The Curse of the Labrador Duck is a quest unlike any other, an impulsive journey around the planet in pursuit of a bird no one in our lifetime has seen alive.
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Educator and Librarian Resources
?Glen Chilton is one of those great rarities?a serious scientist who knows how to spin a fascinating yarn. The Curse of the Labrador Duck takes readers on a madcap years-long journey, chasing the ghost of the long-lost Labrador Duck. I was drawn in from the start and eagerly followed Chilton's wild ride through every gritty inner-city back road, grungy gin joint, and dilapidated hotel room in North America and Europe in his obsessive quest to find every last Labrador Duck specimen in the world."
? Tim Gallagher, author of The Grail Bird: The Rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker () —
- ISBN: 9781554683628
- ISBN 10: 1554683629
- Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
- On Sale: 09/04/2009
- Pages: 320
- List Price: 29.99 CAD
- BISAC1: NATURE / Birdwatching Guides
- BISAC2: SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / General