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Among Penguins: A Bird Man in Antarctica

Overview

The year he graduated from college, twenty-two-year-old Noah Strycker was dropped by helicopter in a remote Antarctic field camp with two other bird scientists and a three-months supply of frozen food. His subjects: more than a quarter million penguins.

The Adélie Penguins who call Antarctica home have been the subject of long-term studies—scientists may know more about how these penguins will adjust to climate change than about any other ...

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Overview

The year he graduated from college, twenty-two-year-old Noah Strycker was dropped by helicopter in a remote Antarctic field camp with two other bird scientists and a three-months supply of frozen food. His subjects: more than a quarter million penguins.

The Adélie Penguins who call Antarctica home have been the subject of long-term studies—scientists may know more about how these penguins will adjust to climate change than about any other creature in the world.

With wit, curiosity, and a deep knowledge of his subject, Strycker weaves a captivating tale of penguins and their researchers on the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. He recounts the reality of life at the end of the Earth—thousand-year-old penguin mummies, hurricane-force blizzards, and day-to-day existence in below freezing temperatures—and delves deep into a world of science, obsession, and birds.

Among Penguins Birders, lovers of the Antarctic, and fans of first-person adventure narratives will be fascinated by Strycker's book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal
Strycker, an accomplished birder, writes entertainingly about spending three exciting and strenuous months in Antarctica helping a research team study utterly charming Adélie penguins. He graphically describes the weather, wildlife, and experience of sharing a 9' × 15' hut with two other biologists. Short chapters make this easy but informative reading. Some chapters are off topic, but these asides give a deeper understanding of the author's background and that of his peers—the subculture of rootless young naturalists who favor sequential, low-paying seasonal jobs—and of the importance of polar regions to our understanding of current, dramatic climate changes. There is much humor here as well in stories of the challenges of difficult fieldwork, celebration of holidays under austere conditions, privacy issues, and descriptions of the awesome and terrible beauty of Antarctica. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers interested in natural history, penguins, and Antarctica and for armchair travelers.—Henry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870716294
  • Publisher: Oregon State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 500,781
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Noah Strycker is an Oregon State University graduate. He has studied birds around the globe, including on Southeast Farallon Island; in the Kimberley, Australia; in Hawaii; and in the Antarctic. He is Associate Editor of the American Birding Association's magazine, Birding. He blogs at www.noahstrycker.com.

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Table of Contents

1 Whiteout 7

2 Why? 17

3 South 20

4 Arrival 25

5 McMurdo 30

6 Coffee House 37

7 A Very Brief History of Penguins 40

8 Ice Figure 45

9 Visitor 50

10 Home 54

11 Crozier 58

12 Snowcraft 63

13 Bucketheads 69

14 Flying Machines 73

15 Touchdown 77

16 Among Penguins 84

17 Area M 88

18 Metropolis 91

19 Man Hauling 95

20 Life of a Penguin 102

21 Wrangling 104

22 Penguin Science 107

23 Schedule 111

24 Never Trust a Penguin 120

25 Gap Year 127

26 Emperors 132

27 Roughed Up 136

28 Blondie and Blackie 139

29 Seawatching 149

30 Satellite Tags 153

31 Thanksgiving 157

32 Young Birders 161

33 Stranded 164

34 The Chase 167

35 Penguin Traffic 171

36 Christmas 174

37 Heat Wave 183

38 Bird Bums 188

39 Banding 192

40 Aftermath 196

Acknowledgments 202

Index 203

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