Wild Flamingos (book cover)

Wild Flamingos

Hardcover: Available

Bruce's Thirty-ninth Book
1997 - Houghton
Hardcover ISBN 0-395-84545-9
"As always, McMillan's respect
for commitment to preservation of
and peaceful coexistence with
nature grace his writing.

Children's Book Review Magazine, Holiday 1997
Personal Note Description Reviews
Awards & Honors
Links to Bonaire
Jigsaw Puzzle

"Stunning... a lovely picture of nature."

School Library Journal, Star Review, August 1997

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Awards & Honors

Star Review - School Library Journal, 1997

American Bookseller Association Pick of the List, 1997

Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children - National Science Teachers Association / Children's Book Council, 1998
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Actual Greater Flamingo feather
found in salt foam at the water's edge
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Personal Note

I lived in Bonaire for three weeks photographing the oh-so-shy Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) where they live in one of the few remaining places on our world where they live. Though these birds are large, 5 to 5.5 feet tall, they are wary of humans and keep their distance. This made them one of the most difficult birds I've photographed. You may see flamingos in a zoo, but it can't compare to seeing them in the wild, living their flamingo lives.

The island government of Bonaire limits aircraft flights to only the center of the island. The top and bottom of the island where the flamingos live are no fly zones - except for the flamingos.

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Visit the tropical desert Island and...
Send a Postcard from Bonaire

About Bonaire from the
Tourism Corporation of Bonaire

Hint: Choose "open/play" and not "save-to-disk" if asked.

Student art says:
"Maker of Happy Endings"

When I returned from Bonaire I drove into my yard and found that my friends, Jane Cowen-Fletcher and Brad Fletcher had planted flamingos to greet me.

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5 to 5.5 feet tall
"There are larger birds than the flamingo, and birds with more brilliant plumage but no other large bird is so brightly colored and no other brightly colored bird is so large."

Dr. Frank Michler Chapman, 1908
Curator of Ornithology
American Museum of Natural History
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Greater flamingos, the worlds largest and most colorful flamingos, live on a desert-like island, surrounded by cactus - not a tropical paradise. They drink water saltier than sea water with their food. Each bird eats a million tiny young insects a month. From this food, they get their brilliant orange-red color.

This is a vivid portrait of how one of our world's most unusual birds has adapted to a most inhospitable environment. This nature story, photographed on the Caribbean island, Bonaire, is sure to inspire an admiration of, and respect for, these rare birds who live in the wild, undisturbed by people.
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School Library Journal
August, 1997
Star Review

"Stunning... a lovely picture of nature."

McMillan, Bruce. Wild Flamingos.
photos. by author. 32 p. bibliog. index. CIP.
Houghton/Lorraine. Aug. 1997. Tr $15.
ISBN 0-395-84545-9. LC 97-1521.

Gr 3-6 - McMillan introduces readers to greater flamingos and then proceeds to tell about the birds' lives in the wild, stressing their protected habitats. He describes what and how mature birds eat and drink, and how and why they stand on one leg. Children can learn a great deal from the readable text, in which terms such as "salina" and "briny" are defined in context. The striking full-color photographs capture the birds in a variety of interesting poses from preening to glorious flight and show scenes of the Caribbean island of Bonaire on which they reside. Less detail is given about the young birds, but their coloration and care is touched upon. A fact table about the greater flamingo is appended. This stunning book is for younger readers than Caroline Arnold's Flamingo (Morrow, 1991) but gives enough facts for reports and provides a lovely picture of nature. - Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA.

This copyrighted © review originally appeared in School Library Journal and appears here with permission. www.slj.com

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The Horn Book magazine
September/October 1997

"Beautifully conveyed a very appealing introduction"

Bruce McMillan Wild Flamingos;
photos by the author, 32 pp. Lorraine/Houghton 8/97
ISBN 0-395-84545-9 15.00 (Younger)

Ungainly in appearance, the greater flamingo ("the largest of all flamingo species") is striking in both its color and the nearly equal lengths of its long, long neck and legs. McMillan highlights both these characteristics most effectively in the skillful photographs that follow large numbers of flamingos in their salty home on the small Caribbean island of Bonaire. The protected status of the nesting grounds prohibits close-up views of the chicks, but an opening scene contrasts a white juvenile with the rosy adults. The essay explains the dietary source of the coloration and sketches eating habits, social behavior, physical characteristics, and the long flights to Venezuela to secure sufficient food for the chicks. Many of the photographs are both informative and intriguing, beginning with the magnificent bands of red feathers framing running birds on the book jacket. Flamingos ruffling their feathers in consternation and in preparation for flight, flamingo faces, the elegant black flight feathers, and the salt print of the bird's foot in the muddy edge of the lake are beautifully conveyed. The economical narrative and photographs of varied size are thoughtfully integrated in handsome layouts, and the concluding page is exceptionally informative, with a note on flamingo nesting locations, a list of facts, a bibliography, and an index. Caroline Arnold and Richard Hewett provide a more extensive life cycle and a better view of the chicks in their well-crafted photo-essay Flamingo, which features birds in captivity, but this look at the unusual bird in its natural habitat is a very appealing introduction. M.A.B.

This copyrighted © review originally appeared in The Horn Book Magazine and appears here with permission. www.hbook.com

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Children's Book Review Magazine
Holiday 1997, Science and Nature

"The text is full of interesting details that acquaint the reader with the daily life of these beautiful birds and the challenges of their inhospitable habitat. As always, McMillan's respect for and commitment to preservation of and peaceful coexistence with nature grace his writing."

July 1997

"The pages of the handsome, large-format book are filled with striking images of this photogenic bird knit together with information that can only increase readers’ respect and concern for the species."


A perfect five star rating from all customer reviews.