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The Curse of the Labrador Duck

My Obsessive Quest to the Edge of Extinction


 On Sale: 04/09/2009
 Formats:     Hardback | Trade paperback
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Book Description

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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Author Extras

Critical Praise for The Curse of the Labrador Duck

"I've seen my share of strange quests, have taken part in a few myself, but nothing matches Glen Chilton's galloping obsession to corner the market on rare stuffed ducks. A funny, fast-paced and oddly heroic tale."
Will Ferguson, author of How to Be a Canadian

ISBN: 9781554683628; ISBN10: 1554683629; Imprint: HarperCollins Canada ; On Sale: 04/09/2009; Format: Hardback; Trimsize: ; Pages: 288; $29.99; Ages: Newborn to 0; BISAC1:SCI070000

Books by Glen Chilton
The Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons The Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons
In the rollicking and award-nominated The Curse of the Labrador Duck , Glen Chilton travelled the world over more than three times to seek out every last stuffed specimen of the extinct Labrador duck in prose “that calls to mind James Herriot and Bill Bryson” (A.J. Jacobs). Now he...
The Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons The Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons
Glen Chilton, the author of the rollicking Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour finalist The Curse of the Labrador Duck , returns with yet another quest, this time to seek out species ill-advisedly introduced into foreign environments. Chilton visits Ireland to witness how rhododendrons, an ornamental...
The Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons The Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons
In the rollicking and award-nominated The Curse of the Labrador Duck , Glen Chilton travelled the world over more than three times to seek out every last stuffed specimen of the extinct Labrador duck in prose “that calls to mind James Herriot and Bill Bryson” (A.J. Jacobs). Now he...