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In , Safina was awarded a National Academies Communication Award "for his clear and vivid exposition of the scientific process and the many and varied relationships between living organisms and their ocean ecosystem.


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And there, like a feathered nation, half a million goose-size albatross chicks await foraging parents who may be gone for weeks in search of food. Our narrator in this extraordinary place is Carl Safina; his guide and inspiration is Amelia, a hardworking parent albatross wearing a state-of-the-art satellite tracking transmitter.

While scouring the ocean for just one meal for her patiently waiting famished chick, Amelia is carried by her giant wings as many as seven thousand miles from her nest. As we travel with her, Amelia becomes both host and vehicle, sweeping us along on her journeys, sharing the world as an albatross sees it. Weaving the albatross's metaphorical and real-life powers, Safina blends literature, history, adventure, science, and in-the-moment action. Amelia's travels through space and time connect us with the explorers and hunters, including Charles Darwin, Herman Melville, and James Cook, who first penetrated the remote and forbidding albatross realms.

Traveling the trackless ocean, Amelia likewise introduces us to the rhythms of whales and sea turtles, sharks and seals, fishes and seabirds. Watching a green turtle emerge from the surf wash to breed, we marvel at a creature that makes her first hesitant transition from the float of water to the stranding alienation of land as her ancestors have done for million years. Safina shows us that the drive to survive has carried these creatures through historic ravages of hunters and plunderers, and that despite a slew of new challenges, albatrosses and their ocean neighbors will likely survive long into the future.

Amelia's lifethe life we all shareis an epic of struggle and hope, of the power of sheer persistence and life's resilience. The travels are epic, the animals awe-inspiring, and the realized message of the unity of life is important and uplifting. He cannot contain his delight in birds, fish and the profusion of life on the islands he visits.

Eye of the albatross : visions of hope and survival in SearchWorks catalog

For anyone planning to visit Oahu or Kauai--a Everything you wanted to know about albatross. For anyone planning to visit Oahu or Kauai--and everyone that lives on those islands--this should be required reading. This is because people lucky enough to be on Oahu and Kauai in the winter can see albatross nesting. Aug 31, Elizabeth rated it it was amazing. This book of natural history is definitely a stand-out for reading. Although the main topic is albatrosses, the book ranges over a broader area--ocean health, sharks, sea turtles, ocean fishing.

Not only does Safina convey a lot of information, but also his language is poetic and insightful. I read this for my bird club book club, and there was one passage about bliss and the necessity of stress that three of the eight of us had marked as especially important. I'd like to read more of Safin This book of natural history is definitely a stand-out for reading. I'd like to read more of Safina's work.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Dec 04, JD rated it really liked it Shelves: bird-books. The background information about albatrosses, how they came to be named, and their natural history, was superb. The stories of human cruelty are relentless and heartbreaking, and yet seem necessary. I am a much deeper advocate for albatrosses as a result of reading this book. The author showed bits of chauvinism at times in descriptions of his female colleagues. Jun 19, David Robertson rated it it was amazing.

Carl Safina is an gifted writer who has produced a sweeping and engaging book about the Pacific Ocean ecosystem focused on seabirds and fish. His "guide" and inspiration is Amelia, a hardworking parent Laysan Albatross wearing a state-of-the-art satellite tracking transmitter. Safina's subtitle, "Visions of Hope and Survival" , however, is misleading, because this book is overwhelmingly depressing, and the ecological and economic conditions he described in have only become more dire in the Carl Safina is an gifted writer who has produced a sweeping and engaging book about the Pacific Ocean ecosystem focused on seabirds and fish.

Safina's subtitle, "Visions of Hope and Survival" , however, is misleading, because this book is overwhelmingly depressing, and the ecological and economic conditions he described in have only become more dire in the intervening 17 years. The book details the decimation of seabird colonies on the most remote islands on earth, the depletion of fish stocks in the ocean, and ubiquitous ocean pollution.

Admittedly, some seabird populations have rebounded from near extinction, but these animals face challenges for which they are ill-equipped to contend. Safina's account of an adult albatross attempting unsuccessfully to regurgitate a piece of a green plastic toothbrush while trying to feed its chick is particularly poignant. If this book doesn't make a strong case for Homo sapiens' quick demise, no book will.

Jul 07, Samantha Chapnick rated it it was amazing.


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The whole book was brilliant for anyone interested in animals esp. And he does a really great job of taking you there. Whether there is Midway Island crammed with albatross is under every foot path, or to the bloody hooks of a fishing line drowning magnificent birds for no reason. This is why I had to stop reading the book in The whole book was brilliant for anyone interested in animals esp. This is why I had to stop reading the book in the last third of it. Because, quite necessarily, he focuses on the horrors humans have wrought on these birds the oceans and nature itself.

Already being a vegetarian who never liked fish, it left me feeling sad and hopeless because there is so little that we can actually do to stop this human destruction. Jan 28, Patricia rated it really liked it Shelves: botany-garden-nature. Truly eye-opening about albatrosses. For instance, the incredible feats of navigation and endurance they achieve to feed themselves and sustain their chicks. Birds fly because they must escape predators and search for food. Trees grow skyward because they compete fiercely with other trees for light.

Living things need something to push off of. Each of Truly eye-opening about albatrosses. Each of us needs challenges to give us the right shape. However, his curiosity about the stories of the people he encountered was also one of the pleasures of the book. Nov 18, Billy rated it really liked it. A long difficult book about connections: between bird and bird, bird and shark, people and bird.

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Eye of the Albatross

The vast Pacific Ocean is the broad template of this story; the Northwest Hawaiian Islands the stage. The connections that go back many millions of years have been disrupted by the coming of man. The destruction wrought is heartbreaking; we are all a party to this sad story. The book highlights those, few, eccentric souls who are trying to right these wrongs by studying and documenting breeding birds A long difficult book about connections: between bird and bird, bird and shark, people and bird.

The book highlights those, few, eccentric souls who are trying to right these wrongs by studying and documenting breeding birds, sharks, turtles, endangered seals, etc. The outcome is far from clear. A lot of poetry here. May 10, Jule rated it liked it. An informative and well written book about these incredible seabirds. He love and wonder of nature shines through. The cruelty that man has inflicted on these animals is breathtakingly horrific. I definitely intend to read his other books. May 16, Samantha rated it it was amazing. Though sometimes it dragged on, Safina really does a great job at reiterating his philosophies.

I really enjoyed the personification of the albatross and just how information-driven it was, yet, I felt as though I was reading a story rather than a nonfiction science novel. Sep 25, Stephen Orth rated it it was amazing. A beautifully written book. The language is as magical as the places the author visits. And his clear-eyed view of what a sentimentalist might call progress is refreshing.

Loved it. Feb 11, Walt rated it it was amazing. This book was less about albatrosses than I thought it was going to be, and while those sections were still my favorite, the rest of the book was also very nice. Every few chapters the author returns to Amelia the Laysan albatross and her imagined experiences inferred from satellite signals.

In between, the author visits various scientists and fisherpeople throughout the North Pacific Ocean to see how their activities impact the albatrosses and other animals inhabiting the area.