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Imperial Dreams

Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker Through the Wild

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Tim Gallagher is an author, wildlife photographer, and magazine editor, currently editor-in-chief of Living Bird, the magazine of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He lives in Freeville, New York. He helped bring to light the only living images of an Imperial ever taken; when Cornell released the recently rediscovered 1950’s footage,, it drew over 100,000 viewers in a few days.

A Top 10 Science & Health Book of 2013 “Gallagher has set a gold standard for nature writing. A triumph.”

– Booklist, starred review

“The best birding book that’s been written in years”

– Minneapolis Star Tribune

“An exciting adventure story set against a sobering picture of the Mexican political scene.”

– Kirkus

“The most delightful and fascinating magpie of a memoir, told with panache, verve, and honesty.”

– Tony Huston, screenwriter

"Tim Gallagher's Imperial Dreams is unique, a blend of natural and tragic human history and Indiana Jones-style adventure. Imagine venturing into the mountainous heart of Mexico's narcotraficante country armed only with pictures of a great bird that may or may not be extinct. This is Tim Gallagher's most exciting book, and may be his best."

– Stephen Bodio, author of An Eternity of Eagles

"Imperial Dreams by Tim Gallagher is a natural history of the world’s most spectacular woodpecker and a mystery... It starts as a lighthearted adventure and becomes a tragedy and a tale of terror.... one to excite adventure travelers unforgettable tale of loss... Excellent adventure."

– Living Bird, magazine of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

"Gallagher combines an in-depth, extensively researched historical account of the region with an equally impressive detailed account of his own experiences there."

– Audubon Magazine