Turaco Country, Reminiscences of East African Birding
Dale Zimmerman's singular memoir details a half-century of ornithological investigations in East Africa, at a time when Africa's fabled wildlife and wild habitats flourished beneath the snows of Kilimanjaro. Set against the political backdrop of the shift from colonial to African rule, Turaco Country documents a field ornithologist's quintessentially African experience, capturing the sights, scents and sounds of a vanishing world.
In 1961, Dale Zimmerman set off for Africa, armed with a degree in Botany, years of study of African avifauna, and a keen passion for wild nature. Thus began an adventure that would span a half-century. In the ensuing years, while Dr. Zimmerman was Professor of Biology at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, he continued to explore bird life on all continents, but always returned to Africa. An acclaimed artist as well as scientist, he co-authored and co-illustrated two field guides, Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania and Birds of New Guinea.
Zimmerman's first step into Africa led to immersion in the misty Kakamega Forest, where he unraveled mysteries surrounding its little-investigated birdlife. Often with his wife Marian (also an ornithologist and a botanist) and young son Allan (later himself a fine naturalist), he found adventure aplenty among the lions, elephants, hornbills, and exquisite turacos. Generously spiced with photographs taken by the Zimmermans and their friends, Turaco Country sparkles with a life that is uniquely African.