A Most Remarkable Creature
The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey
Jonathan Meiburg

Knopf/March, 2021

“Meiburg elevates himself to the top ranks of science writers with this enthralling debut . . . Meiburg’s evocative prose will bring armchair naturalists into the wild with him. Fans of literary nature narratives will be thrilled by his lyrical account, and eager to see where Meiburg goes next.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An ambitious, impressive debut. The book’s manifold strands will engage all sorts of readers, including bird lovers, science buffs, and eco-adventure fans.”—Robert Eagan, Library Journal (starred review)

“Meiburg’s enthusiasm [for the caracaras] matches Darwin’s, and readers will share it. . . Not only a fine writer, the author is clearly an adventurer, and he devotes entertaining chapters to treks into the high Andes and South American jungles in search of other caracara species. . . [A] wholly captivating natural history.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In this wonderful combination of travelogue (it makes one want to visit the Falklands), history of science (Henry Hudson was quite the naturalist), and natural history, the reader will meet a bird of prey that. . . [is] truly the most mischievous of all feathered creation. ”—Nancy Bent, Booklist (starred review)

“Utterly captivating and beautifully written, this book is a hugely entertaining and enlightening exploration of a bird so wickedly smart, curious, and social, it boggles the mind. Along the way, Meiburg takes us from the Falklands to the UK, from Guyana to the Antarctic and Florida, and from deep time to the present and back again, describing in brilliant language why these birds--and their planet--are the way they are. If you love birds, natural history, science, travel, adventure, or just great writing, you will be rapt.”—Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Bird Way

“A fascinating, entertaining, and totally engrossing story of these under-appreciated birds, deftly intertwining natural history and human history, and with insights and lessons that go far beyond the subject birds.”—David Sibley, author of What It's Like to Be a Bird

“This book is an evolutionary labyrinth, taking Meiburg to the end of the world following a single, curious predator. Vivid, beautiful, and scientifically rich, crawling with jungle ants, blasted by Antarctic winds, his tales will transport you from the page to wilder places.”—Craig Childs, author of Atlas of a Lost World

“A Most Remarkable Creature does what only the very best science and nature writing can. Jonathan Meiburg reminds us that our world is not fully known, that the prehistoric walk among us, and, most of all, how exciting and unnerving it feels to encounter an animal you’ve never seen before, and, even more, to find that animal staring right back.”—Steven Rinella, author of American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon

“A rich, sprawling romp through time and far-flung, fabulous spaces, in pursuit of one of Earth’s most enigmatic, engaging, and shrewdest creatures.”—Alan Weisman, author of Countdown

“I’m in love with this book. If you like great writing, strange historical twists, adventure, nature, music and/or birds this will quickly become one of your all-time favorite books.”—Laurie Anderson, artist

“Caracaras are not like other birds, or even other birds of prey. Curious, wide-ranging, gregarious, and intelligent, the ten species of caracara are a scientific puzzle that has intrigued biologists since the days of Darwin. And this book--as curious, wide-ranging, gregarious, and intelligent as its subject--is not like any other book that I have encountered. A Most Remarkable Creature is not only about a bird, but about the community of people that has formed, almost accidentally, around the bird, and beyond that about humankind itself.”—Charles C. Mann, author of 1491

“What a remarkable feat: taking a mysterious, oddly social, keenly intelligent bird of prey that most of the world has never heard of and animating the creature with such beauty that it comes fully alive in our imaginations. Jonathan Meiburg went on an equatorial search for the latter-day descendants of the age-old caracara and brought back--a little like Darwin himself--travel report, documentary, biography, social history, scientific treatise. And all of it so wonderfully readable.”—Paul Hendrickson, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost

In 1997, Jonathan Meiburg received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel to remote communities around the world, a year-long journey that sparked his enduring fascination with islands, birds, and the deep history of the living world. Since then, he's written reviews, features, and interviews for print and online publications including The Believer, The Talkhouse, and The Appendix on subjects ranging from a hidden exhibit hall at the American Museum of Natural History to the last long-form interview with author Peter Matthiessen. But he's best known as the leader of the band Shearwater, whose albums and performances have often been praised by NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Pitchfork. He lives in central Texas.