Sixty years ago, Dick Dekker immigrated from one of the smallest countries in Europe to the second-largest country in the world- Canada. Dreaming of Canada's wilderness, he risked his life to find wolves and spent half a century watching eagles and falcons for which his native Holland had become too small to support. The ancient maxim that nature is red in tooth and claw, attributed to Shakespeare, is still true today. But rather than just concentrating on the predators, Dekker's focus is also on the prey species, how deer, ducks, and sandpipers manage to cope with their peril. Hiking and camping in Jasper National Park, he was first to describe that the return of wolves had led to the restoration of the ecological balance between vegetation, grazing elk, and wolves, with beneficial side effects for the intertwined lives of beavers and other wildlife. His insights became the inspiration for what has since become known as a trophic cascade in Yellowstone. Dekker's detailed studies of the hunting tactics of Peregrine Falcons on ocean coasts and inland lakes are unprecedented. He has recorded more prey captures by wild falcons than anyone else in the published literature. His discoveries and unique observations are narrated in simple yet evocative prose the reader can identify with.
About the author
Theodorus Johannes (Dick) Dekker was born in Rotterdam on 19 October 1933. Just after the outbreak of the Second World War and before Rotterdam was bombed, he moved to Haarlem, where he received his secondary education at Het Triniteitslyceum. In 1950 he began a career in graphic design and publish-ing at Uitgeverij De Spaarnestad. Nature study had become a lifelong passion. At 17, he sold his first illustrated articles to youth magazines and eventually to a wide range of print media. His list of publications in the Dutch language, which continues to grow, now includes 222 titles and seven books. In 1959 he emi-grated to Canada in search of unspoiled wilderness. After almost having lost his life in a canoe accident in Yukon, he returned to Haarlem in 1961, resuming his nature writing until 1964, when he again left for Canada, accompanied by his wife Irma. In Edmonton, Alberta, he established himself as a free-lance graphic designer until 1982. Since then he has devoted himself full-time to wildlife writing and field research, which includes long-range mammal surveys in Jasper National Park, and ongoing studies of the avian inventory and habitat succession at Beaverhills Lake, a Ramsar wetland and Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve. He has given talks about wolves and other wildlife at a number of national and international conferences and nature group meetings. His growing list of pub-lications in the english language now sits at 180 titles, including 27 papers in refereed journals, nine books, and three scripts for television documentaries. Throughout, his main focus has been on the dynamics of predator and prey interactions, with particular emphasis on the Peregrine and other falcons.