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Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  255 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
"One of the most delightful natural history studies in decades." —The Boston Globe

Eye of the Albatross takes us soaring to locales where whales, sea turtles, penguins, and shearwaters flourish in their own quotidian rhythms. Carl Safina's guide and inspiration is an albatross he calls Amelia, whose life and far-flung flights he describes in fascinating detail. Interwoven w
ebook, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2002)
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May 04, 2011 Gwyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is some of the best nature writing I have ever encountered. Carl Safina explores issues of marine conservation and the history of human use of marine resources by following the travels of a single albatross named Amelia. As she flies across the Pacific, feeding her chick and herself, Safina recounts the ecological atrocities committed by humans in their search for albatross eggs and feathers; examines how modern fishing practices still threaten marine animals and what steps are being taken ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything you wanted to know about albatross. Carl Safina's own passion for these amazing creatures infuses the entire book, and the science part reads like a page turner. He brings the reader into the strange and remote world of Northwest Hawaiian Islands conservation work and doesn't let us go until we have seen everything, including the trash on the beach and the albatross chicks dead on their nest because they have too much plastic in their gut. For anyone planning to visit Oahu or Kauai--a ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book of natural history is definitely a stand-out for 2014 reading. Although the main topic is albatrosses, the book ranges over a broader area--ocean health, sharks, sea turtles, ocean fishing. Not only does Safina convey a lot of information, but also his language is poetic and insightful. I read this for my bird club book club, and there was one passage about bliss and the necessity of stress that three of the eight of us had marked as especially important. I'd like to read more of Safin ...more
Feb 12, 2015 Walt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was less about albatrosses than I thought it was going to be, and while those sections were still my favorite, the rest of the book was also very nice. Every few chapters the author returns to Amelia the Laysan albatross and her imagined experiences inferred from satellite signals. In between, the author visits various scientists and fisherpeople throughout the North Pacific Ocean to see how their activities impact the albatrosses and other animals inhabiting the area. I'd say this is ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Jana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Suzanne
Shelves: favorite-authors
Another interesting journey taken by Carl Safina. The amount of plastic in the ocean and what it is doing to wildlife is distressing at the very least. Safina books are a great combination of the personal, the natural, and the scientific. This one is no exception.
Kelcee Eaton
Jun 08, 2015 Kelcee Eaton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good book for those who are interested in conservation of animals and research.
Jan 06, 2015 Hanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sooooo good. One of the best books that I've read in a long time.
I wasn't taken by this book - perhaps beacause I'm not a bird lover. However, I've always respected Safina's passion and commiment to the sustainability of our oceans and environment. There are moments in this book where the writing is truly poetic, eliciting insights into the links between animals and humans that make you lift your head from the page and pause to think. I'll continue reading Safina's works for these moments. He's also a fantastic speaker/presenter. It's worth Youtubing his work ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best natural history book I have read in a long time. Safina is funny, insightful, introspective, informative and well researched. He puts forth some good fodder to chew on. I found myself dog earring and hightlighting all over the place. I would love to have been involved in the research he participated in. I didn't want the book to end. I have an even greater love and appreciation for theses amazing birds and my heart aches for what the greed of humans has put them through. Well do ...more
Suzanne Auckerman
Mar 08, 2013 Suzanne Auckerman rated it really liked it
Good natural history of the albatross; but another depressing view of what is happening with the ocean. This is not a new book as it came out in 2003. However, according to Birdlife International, not much has changed. Will have to apply for a trip to Midway Atoll Nat'l Wildlife Refuge.
This book surprised me, I thought; how much can you write about an Albatross? Turns out it's great stuff. Full of the author's experiences all over the world with this misunderstood bird, and written in a way that draws you into the story of the plight of the Albatross.
David Ward
Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival by Carl Safina (Holt McDougal 2003)(598.42). This is a very well done look at the health of our oceans and the creatures that depend on the sea for habitat and survival. My rating 7.5, finished 2004.
Adrienne Shea-michiels
This and his other 3 books bring the reader right into the sea with whales, swordfish, salmon and tuna or into the air with seabirds. He's a marine biologist and ecologist with a bent towards compromise and cooperation. He's a great teacher.
Jun 18, 2008 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm in love with Safina. I want him to write more books, right away. I want to sell all my worldly goods and devote my life to saving birds.

Safina's a delicious prose stylist with a clear, burning passion for animals. Highly recommended.
Aron Wagner
Stilted prose and overblown metaphors distracted me from the authentically fascinating science. I read the whole thing and got a lot out of it, but I wish it had spent a longer time in the hands of a capable editor.
Aug 24, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much easier to get into than song of the blue ocean. I enjoyed the layout of the book, always returning to the tagged albatross after exploring issues surrounding their conservation and challenges these species face.
Wendy Campbell
Mar 22, 2016 Wendy Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carl has woven a tight story about the creatures whose lives depend on the sea, and about the sea itself. His love for it all shines from every page.
Sep 23, 2007 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful mixture of science, personal experience, and fictionalized account of an albatrosses adventures as scientists track it across the Pacific.
Jun 05, 2014 Clarry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly well researched! A must for people who enjoy nature writing and learning more about the struggles of the ocean's wildlife.
Feb 01, 2014 Talia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far, the best story about life on these islands that I've read since we moved to Hawaii four years ago. Period. Please read it!
Nov 27, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had some beautiful moments, especially if you are into nature, but I found it to be too wordy and not enough to the point.
Jan 31, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Engaging story about albatrosses, se turtles, researchers, sharks & the fishing industry among others.
Jun 29, 2010 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is not too late; however the clock is ticking very loudly.
Feb 10, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ran a little too long.
Chris rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2016
Jim marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2016
greg rated it really liked it
Aug 19, 2016
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Carl Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. He has a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University. Safina is the inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs th ...more
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“I am impressed anew by... how much the harshness that challenges life is what causes the beauty. Birds fly because they must escape predators and search for food. Trees grow skyward because they compete fiercely with other trees for light. Living things need something to push off of. Each of us needs challenges to give us the right shape.” 4 likes
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