Date of this Version
Great Plains Research Vol. 21 No.1, 2011
When asked to review this book I hadn't yet heard of it or its author, a wildlife photographer well known in his native Germany and the author of four photographic books published there, so I was eager to read it. The book is visually impressive, measuring 11" x 12", making it a true coffee-table production. Inside is a well-written 2S-page "primer" on whooping cranes by Krista Schlyer dealing with cranes in myth and legend, crane vocalizations and displays, and breeding biology. She also provides a brief survey of the whooping crane's population history, its near brush with extinction, and the mostly failed efforts since the 1970s to establish additional wild populations. A dozen suggested readings and some relevant websites are also provided. The heart of the book consists of more than ISO spectacular single- and double-page color photographs obtained at the cranes' wintering grounds in and near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas and at their breeding grounds in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park. Nigge is the first professional still photographer ever to be allowed to photograph a pair of Wood Buffalo's whooping cranes during the hatching period. This endeavor meant spending six days and nights alone in a cramped photo blind and enduring all the attendant hardships for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to document the experience visually.