The Big Year
A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl ObsessionBook - 2004
Follows the 1998 Big Year competition between Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller during which the three rivals risked their lives to set a new North American birding record, an event that took them to such locales as Del Rio in search of the rufous-capped warbler and British Columbia in pursuit of the Xantus' hummingbird. 75,000 first printing.
The Big Year is an annual contest in which birders travel all across North America competing to identify as many different species as possible over the course of a 365-day period. Journalist Obmascik profiles three of the participants in the 1998 Big Year, one of whom achieved the unprecedented record of identifying 745 different species, and describes their adventures in traveling the continent looking for rare species. Obmascik frequently incorporates the natural history of the discussed birds into his narrative, also discussing some of the wider societal issues surrounding birds and their environments. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Blackwell North Amer
Every year on January 1, a quirky crowd of adventurers storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year - a grand, grueling, expensive, and occasionally vicious, "extreme" 365-day marathon of birdwatching.
Follows the 1998 Big Year competition between Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller, during which the three rivals risked their lives to set a new North American birding record.
Simon and Schuster
Every year on January 1, a quirky crowd of adventurers storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year -- a grand, grueling, expensive, and occasionally vicious, "extreme" 365-day marathon of birdwatching.
For three men in particular, 1998 would be a whirlwind, a winner-takes-nothing battle for a new North American birding record. In frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities that can make or break their lead, the birders race each other from Del Rio, Texas, in search of the rufous-capped warbler, to Gibsons, British Columbia, on a quest for Xantus's hummingbird, to Cape May, New Jersey, seeking the offshore great skua. Bouncing from coast to coast on their potholed road to glory, they brave broiling deserts, roiling oceans, bug-infested swamps, a charge by a disgruntled mountain lion, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man.
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...finding and identifying an extraordinary 745 different species by official year-end count.
Prize-winning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a rollicking, dazzling narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to the finish to claim the title in the greatest -- or maybe the worst -- birding contest of all time. With an engaging, unflappably wry humor, Obmascik memorializes their wild and crazy exploits and, along the way, 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.
A captivating tour of human and avian nature, passion and paranoia, honor and deceit, fear and loathing, 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. This is a lark of a read for anyone with birds on the brain -- or not.
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