Faces of the Great Plains

Prairie Wildlife

Photographs and Field Notes by Bob Gress Text by Paul A. Johnsgard

The Great Plains are Americas biological melting pot, drawing creatures from surrounding regions to create a rich diversity of wildlife. Here are pronghorn in the shortgrass, rattlesnakes underfoot, and golden eagles soaring skyward. Here, too, pockets of bison can still be found, recalling yesterdays thundering herds.

In this spectacular book, Bob Gress—one of the regions preeminent photographers—is joined by the distinguished naturalist Paul Johnsgard to illuminate the enormous variety and uniqueness of prairie wildlife. Gress has selected—from the nearly 600 non-fish vertebrate species found in the Plains—150 of the most interesting, charismatic, and important species, while Johnsgard provides a lyrical text covering the ecology, behavior, and life histories of these creatures. The result is a vivid and striking marriage of image and text.

“Gress’s photographs are razor-sharp. Johnsgard’s writing is clear, crisp, and at times, poetic, making for a winning combination.

—Great Plains Research

“151 full-color photographs accompanied by informative text in a beautiful coffee-table book. Gress and Johnsgard capture the rich diversity of prairie wildlife throughout the Great Plains states, from North Dakota to the Texas panhandle.

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From meadowlark to prairie dog, here are many creatures one would expect to encounter in the field: characteristic breeding birds, typical mammals, and conspicuous reptiles and amphibians. Grouped by habitat—tallgrass, mixed-grass, and shortgrass prairie, plus sandhills, shrubsteppes, forests, and wetlands—these stunning images also bring you face-to-face with the short-eared owl, black-footed ferret, and six-lined racerunner, as well as other fascinating but overlooked animals on the prairie like the olive-backed pocket mouse, Henslows sparrow, narrowmouth toad, and barred tiger salamander.

An unprecedented partnership between two great observers of the region, Faces of the Great Plains provides keen insights into and thoughtful reflections on both prairie wildlife and the art of nature photography. Especially in the wake of increasing threats to the prairies habitats, it should foster a new appreciation of the regions abundant fauna, inviting us all to see the land through new eyes and to join in the preservation of these natural treasures.