Ex Libris: A Parrot Without A Name

Jack Clinton-Eitniear


While the title of this book indicates that the subject is a parrot, in reality the reader is taken, via a well written travelogue, into field with Ted Parker and John O'Neill of the Louisiana State University. Don Strap, the author, was a member of one of O'Neill's collecting expeditions to the Cordillera Divisor of Peru in the late 1980s. From a non-scientist perspective, Strap writes of the rigors of field work.

It's an exciting book even for individuals, like myself, who have spent a significant amount of time in the field, traveling up rivers in dugouts and trekking through tropical forests. For those of you who have not yet ventured into the tropical forest, this book will certainly lure you into doing so. Emotions of another variety are, however, bound to be stirred as you read of collecting bird specimens for science. Toucans, parrots and barbets: over 1,400 specimens were collected. Principally using mist nets but also shotguns, the specimens were not only killed and skinned but, in the case of one mealy parrot, eaten as well! Considering that without such collecting we would not have field guides nor much of a clue as to avian taxonomic relationships it, however, seems a small price to pay.

I found the 230 pages to be too short, just whetting my interest in the field activities of O'Neill, Parker and Gentry (the noted botanist). Oh, the parrot without a name is an unknown parrotlet first observed by Charles Munn in Manu Park but collected on the expedition of which Stap writes.

Anyone interested in neotropical ornithology should obtain a copy of this book and join Stap and his expedition crew in their '' peki-peki" up the Rio Shesha of Peru. •



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