The Big Year

The Big Year

A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

Large Print - 2004
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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. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2004
ISBN: 9780375432941
Branch Call Number: LT 598.07234 OBM
Characteristics: 472 p. (large print) ;,24 cm

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SPPL_János Mar 19, 2018

Every year hardcore birdwatchers scramble throughout the continental United States in a quest called a Big Year: an attempt to spot and identify—on their honor—as many bird species as possible. Not only must they track down every native species, no matter how rare or inaccessible, but must fly on a moment's notice when the word goes out that a non-native bird has been blown in by storm, wanderlust, or confusion. Obmascik recounts the Big Year of 1998, when three very different birders vied for the longest species list, a list so long the ultimate winner's record may never be broken. Obmascik paints a vivid portrait of hardcore birders past and present, and of nature, obsession, and competition.

Mar 01, 2017

I am not a birder, but this is one of my most enjoyable, entertaining and informative reads in a while, especially on human nature.


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Feb 12, 2012

This book follows 3 characters as they attempt to win a Big Year, by spotting the most species of birds in North America over one year. This book was the basis for the 2011 film "The Big Year" with Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black.

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