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More elusive than the Passenger Pigeon, the Dodo or the Great Auk and breeding in places so obscure that no certain records exist of its nests, the Labrador Duck succumbed to extinction almost before anyone realized it was in decline. When the author began his travels, there were thought to be approximately fifty stuffed specimens, scattered among the museums of Europe and North America. However, as his search progressed, it became clear that some specimens had been lost to war and theft, while others lay hidden in far-flung collections, overseen by secretive curators.
After traveling the equivalent of 3.3 times around the world with a series of oddball companions, he finally began to close in on every known specimen but not before he risked heavy-metal poisoning in Russia, swam naked in a glacier-fed stream, corresponded with a millionaire murderer and narrowly avoided arrest in New York City.