No family of birds has quite the compelling allure offered by the hummingbird. For centuries they have captured our imaginations: revered by Native Americans, coveted by European collectors and admired worldwide for their jewel-like plumage, acrobatic flight and immense character.
Though their renown extends throughout the world, hummingbirds are found exclusively in the Americas. Small in stature yet fiercely tenacious, they have conquered every habitat imaginable: from boreal woodlands to deserts, mangrove swamps to active volcanoes, and on islands both tropical and sub-polar. The Glitter in the Green takes us on an unforgettable journey in search of the most remarkable examples of this wildly variable family. There's the Bee Hummingbird in Cuba, the smallest species of bird to have ever lived; the diminutive Rufous Hummingbird, whose annual migration exceeds 3,000 miles; and the critically endangered Juan Fernandez Firecrown, marooned on the remote Pacific island that inspired Robinson Crusoe.
Jon Dunn brings us closer than ever before to these magnificent creatures, exploring a heady mix of rare birds, a history redolent with mythology, and the colourful stories of the people obsessed with hummingbirds through the ages. With great passion for his subject and a taste for adventure, Dunn transports us to wondrous landscapes from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and invites us into the kaleidoscopic world of the hummingbird – the bird that has won the hearts and minds of mankind for millennia.
Jon Dunn is a natural history writer, photographer, and wildlife tour leader. His writing has appeared in a number of magazines, including BBC Wildlife. He is the author of three previous books, including Orchid Summer. He lives on his croft on the remote Shetland Islands.
"Dunn's vast love letter is as gleaming and mesmeric as its tiny subject. His travels to observe the often elusive family Trochilidae take him from the smoky air of an Alaska besieged by wildfire, to coastal Santa Marta, Colombia. The book [...] is as much an ode to our world writ large as it is to one of its most captivating birds"
– Vanity Fair
"The Glitter in the Green braids the cultural history and daunting needs and feats of these wondrous birds with vivid accounts of the author's sometimes hazardous, far-flung mountain, forest and island expeditions [...] Exceedingly well-researched and packed with fascinating lore, it should appeal to avid birders and general readers alike"
– Heller McAlpin, Wall Street Journal
"Ever thoughtful and engaging, Jon Dunn pursues these dazzling creatures through dust and jungle to the chillier shores at the far end of the world"
– Benedict Allen
"Enticing [...] brilliant [...] a warm-hearted and enthusiastic triumph of nature writing, passionate yet expert, human and humane as well as biologically spot on, freighted with life that is troublingly exciting, and sparkling with its subject [...] a memorable and essential book"
– Tim Dee
"An adventure-filled, continent-spanning travelogue [...] By carefully peeling back layers of history to find shimmering hummingbirds hidden within, Dunn has created essential reading to understand human obsession-past and present-with these remarkable creatures"
– Jonathan C. Slaght
"Glittering gems of the Americas and nowhere else on Earth, hummingbirds lure Jon Dunn from Alaska to Chile in this whizzing travelogue of hummer natural history [...] exquisite"
– Dan Flores
"More than just an observant birdwatcher, Jon Dunn is a talented traveler and writer [...] The Glitter in the Green is a vivid exploration of a dazzling subject"
– Thor Hanson
"At a time when we are confined to our home patch, Jon Dunn transports us to the Americas, in this delightful hymn of praise to the most extraordinary of all the world's bird families – hummingbirds"
– Stephen Moss
"Full of natural history, quotes from early explorers, local history, and adventure, Dunn's chronicle of his hummingbird quests will make readers just as obsessed with these small, quick birds dipped in rainbows"
– Booklist, starred review
"This is more than a bird book [...] It combines one person's adventure with arguably the most spectacular group of birds in the world: hummingbirds! The immensely talented writer Jon Dunn follows these highly diverse jewels from Alaska, down the Americas to Tierra del Fuego, and weaves an environmental and cultural dialogue around these hummers and the human-dominated world they live in"
– Dr. Joel Cracraft
"The author chronicles his travels from his home in the Shetland Islands to the Americas in search of this alluring bird [...] A mesmerizing, wonder-filled nature study that also serves as a cautionary tale about wildlife conservation."
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"An engaging history of the species [...] This inviting narrative describes the author's search for the rare Mangrove Hummingbird in Costa Rica, as well as others threatened with habitat loss in Cuba and Mexico [...] An essential book for bird watchers, especially hummingbird lovers, as well as anyone interested in natural history"
– Mark Jones, Library Journal
"Natural history writer Dunn takes readers on a wondrous globe-trotting pilgrimage to seek out hummingbirds [...] Dunn's vivid prose, balanced with just the right amount of detail, will captivate birders and non-birders alike"
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A delightful and rich adventure into hummingbird territory, recounted with a deftly literate touch. A glittering treat"
– Dominic Couzens, author of A Bird a Day
"A rich, fascinating and absorbing book, combining personal adventure with the natural history of the most magical birds on the planet"
– Lev Parikian, author of Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? and Into the Tangled Bank
"Jon Dunn's wide-ranging journey underlines how hummingbirds' famous beauty has often blinded us to the deeper wonders of their daring, passionate lives."
– Jonathan Meiburg, author of A Most Remarkable Creature
"Jon Dunn's searching book on these tiny, enigmatic birds takes on a tour of brilliance [...] In beautiful, measured prose, Dunn shows us the hummingbirds' worlds and, of course, the challenges they face at our hands. It is a lovesong to the hummingbird that will make you wonder and hope for their survival in equal measure."
– Melanie Challenger, author of How to Be Animal