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

Obmascik, Mark

ISBN 10: 145164860X / ISBN 13: 9781451648607
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Synopsis: Every January 1, a quirky crowd storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year—a grand, expensive, and occasionally vicious 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prizewinning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest— or maybe worst—birding contest of all time.

From the Inside Flap: A classic in the making -- an account of the biggest year in birdwatching history.

In the USA, some 50 million people lay claim to being bird-watchers or ?birders,? spending billions of dollars on birding-related travel and membership fees every year. A select, and utterly obsessed, few compete in one of the world?s quirkiest contests -- the race to spot the most species in North America in a single year. And 1998 wasn?t just a big year. It was the biggest. The Big Year is Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Obmascik?s account of what was to become the greatest birding year of all time.

It was freak weather conditions that ensured all previous records were broken, but what becomes clear within the pages of this classic portrait of obsession is that while our feathered friends may be the objective of the Big Year competition, it?s the curious activities and behavioural patterns of the pursuing ?homo sapiens? that are the real cause for concern. It is a contest that reveals much of the human character in extremes. Such are the author?s powers of observation that he brilliantly brings to life and gets under the skin of these extraordinary, eccentric and obsessive birders while empathizing with and eventually succumbing to the all-consuming nature of their obsession. The result is a wonderfully funny, acutely observed classic to rank alongside the best of Bill Bryson.
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Title: The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and ...
Binding: Paperback
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