Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild Sierra Madre

Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild Sierra Madre Review

Naturalist Tim Gallagher journeys deep into the savagely beautiful Sierra Madre, home to rich wildlife and other natural treasures—and also to Mexican drug cartels—in a dangerous quest to locate the rarest bird in the world—the possibly extinct Imperial Woodpecker, the largest of all carpinteros. Explorer and noted bird expert Tim Gallagher is no stranger to the obsession for adventure. In the early 2000s, Gallagher rediscovered the legendary Ivory-billed Woodpecker—which most scientists believed had been extinct for sixty years—causing an international stir.

Now, in Imperial Dreams, Gallagher once again hits the trail, with a “natural treasure” map of sightings of the Imperial bestowed on him by a friend on his deathbed. Charged with continuing the quest of a line of distinguished naturalists, including the great Aldo Leopold, to find and protect the Imperial woodpecker in its last habitat, Gallagher ventures deep into isolated territory, the high pine forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental. In this mysterious, historically wild area, Geronimo led Apaches in their last stand and William Randolph Hearst inherited a storied ranch, which Pancho Villa looted. Today, drug lords rule the land.

Here in the Sierra, the giant Imperial’s pounding drumbeat once echoed like the blows of an ax through the Sierra as it bored into the massive, grub-infested pines, hammering on them powerfully for weeks at a time until they groaned, shuddered, and finally toppled with a thunderous impact that shook the ground. The bird had largely disappeared by the early 1950s, yet rumors of Imperial Woodpeckers flying through remote forests persist.

Gallagher’s quest takes a terrifying turn as he encounters armed drug traffickers, burning houses, and fleeing villagers. His passionate mission, now a life-and-death drama, will keep armchair adventurers on the edge of their seats as he chases truth in the most dangerous of habitats.

Title:Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild Sierra Madre
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Taryn

    [This review can also be found at bookwanderer!]Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild Sierra Madre, by Tim Gallagher, is an account of the author's travels through the Sie...

  • John

    I do a little birding on occasion; in the marshlands and the uplands of Northern California. At least six species of woodpecker frequent my neighborhood, which is a fairly substantial number when you ...

  • Tuck

    spoiler, he doesnt find one :(and even though we know this, more or less from page one, well worth the read to follow author in his ramblings in nw mexico mountains, to see the habitat/environment des...

  • Priscilla Melchior

    Want adventure? Want a single-minded quest for the truth regardless of consequences? Forget detective novels or war stories. Follow instead Tim Gallagher as he fights, cajoles, climbs, hikes and bulli...

  • Chris Demer

    This is a really engaging story of the author's excursions into the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico in search of the Imperial Woodpecker. The author is both a scientist and an adventurer and took th...

  • Rick Skwiot

    For those of us who love birds and Mexico, Tim Gallagher’s “Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker through the Wild Sierra Madre,” is a sobering book. It chronicles the willful destru...

  • Steven Howes

    I read the author's previous book "The Grail Bird" about the rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in the SE United States in the 1990's and found it be fascinating. This offering was a similar b...

  • David Bales

    This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book about ornithologists searching for the elusive imperial woodpecker, the world's largest species of woodpecker, (the male was up to 24 inches long with a flam...

  • Amber

    One of the bad things about Goodreads (there are much more good things of course) is that insensitive reviewer turds can give away the entire book in their reviews. And that's what happened with this ...

  • Kerry

    Eh. Some history and geography can be learned, mostly in the first half of the book. Therefore that part is interesting. The second half is staccato bursts of what they did, where they went, who they ...