The Big Year


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The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession


Atria Books - With an engaging, obmascik memorializes their wild and crazy exploits and, along the way, unflappably wry humor, interweaves an entertaining smattering of science about birds and their own strange behavior with a brief history of other bird-men and -women; turns out even Audubon pushed himself beyond the brink when he was chasing and painting the birds of America.

This is a lark of a read for anyone with birds on the brain -- or not. Bouncing from coast to coast on their potholed road to glory, a charge by a disgruntled mountain lion, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, roiling oceans, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. Every year on january 1, expensive, grueling, a quirky crowd of adventurers storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year -- a grand, and occasionally vicious, "extreme" 365-day marathon of birdwatching.

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession - In frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities that can make or break their lead, to Gibsons, to Cape May, New Jersey, Texas, the birders race each other from Del Rio, British Columbia, in search of the rufous-capped warbler, on a quest for Xantus's hummingbird, seeking the offshore great skua.

A captivating tour of human and avian nature, honor and deceit, fear and loathing, passion and paranoia, The Big Year shows the lengths to which people will go to pursue their dreams, to conquer and categorize -- no matter how low the stakes. The unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a new record -- one so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested.

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