Review: Imperial Dreams

Review: Imperial Dreams

Navigating deep canyons and dodging drug traffickers on a quest to find the largest woodpecker ever known

By Geoffrey Giller
Published: 07/23/2013


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As he seeks out old sightings through a landscaped that's been heavily altered by logging and drug-growing since World War II, Gallagher encounters rifle-toting narcotraficantes, burned-out houses, and a nearby rocket-propelled grenade attack in his quest to find any evidence of the imperial woodpecker. And while Gallagher hopes other searchers will follow in his footsteps in the search for this bird, he ends with this caution: "You stand a far better chance of getting killed in the Sierra Madre now than of ever seeing a pitoreal." 

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Geoffrey Giller

Geoffrey Giller is an intern at Audubon magazine and a master's student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. You can follow him on Twitter @geoffsjg or see some of his work at

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine

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