THE FLIGHT OF THE CONDOR: A Wildlife Exploration of the Andes by Michael Afford Andrews

THE FLIGHT OF THE CONDOR: A Wildlife Exploration of the Andes

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Andrews, a BBC photographer and producer of natural history films, spent 18 months with a five-man camera crew, filming remote Andean wildlife and landscape for a series scheduled here for PBS airing in October. The book is both a companion to the film, offering ""more detailed background"" than the TV format allows, and a chronicle of the journey--which proceeds, like the book, up the coast from Cape Horn: from glaciers through forests, mountains, deserts, and into the Amazon jungle. We hear of the hazards of failing ice, sheer cliffs, bees, bamboo dust, and giant bushmaster snakes; and of the lengths to which the team would go to film an erupting volcano, a particular gray gull, flying condors from a glider (as plane or chopper motors would frighten the birds), or a rare species such as the spectacled bear which eluded them despite a week's uncomfortable watch. For background, Andrews discourses on the continent's dramatic geology and rich paleohistory--observing that its first human settlements began on the coast, based on fishing (not on agriculture as is the usual model); lectures on the economics of guana; marvels at flowers blooming in the sand; and deplores the bleak future for Chilean wildlife, the heedless destruction of the Amazon rain forest, the foolish dislocation of its indigenous people. Above all, we're given sometimes rare and sometimes spectacular views of the condor, puma, huelmul (Andean deer), vicuna, tiny hummingbird, giant butterfly, and other examples of the continent's unique wildlife. Photos of the awesome terrain and diverse animals distinguish the book and promise breathtaking viewing.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1982
Publisher: Little, Brown