Poetry Madness
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | March 26, 2015

    Kyle Boelte: IMG Selfies, Memoir, and the World Beyond the Self



    When I was a teenager in Colorado during the late '90s, I liked to climb 14ers — 14,000-foot mountains. I'd often hike with friends, and at... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.95
List price: $16.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Nature Studies- Birdwatching

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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780743245463
ISBN10: 0743245466
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $6.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"With a blend of humor and awe, Obmascik takes the reader into the heart of competitive birding, and in the process turns everyone into birders." Booklist

Review:

"By not revealing the outcome until the end of the book, Obmascik keeps the reader guessing in this fun account of a whirlwind pursuit of birding fame." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Charming, engrossing, and educational even for people who can't tell a mudhen from a magpie." T.R. Reid, The Washington Post

Review:

"You'll gladly add this one to your own list — of surprisingly good books." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Mark Obmascik understands birders, and in this book he has ventured bravely into the fringes of the hobby to report on a sort of extreme birding: the big year. It's the best and the worst of birding in one grueling yearlong contest, and you have to admire the rare passion and dedication that a big year attempt requires. The rest of us must be content with daydreaming about it, and this book will undoubtedly be the source of many daydreams." David Allen Sibley, author of The Sibley Guide to Birds

Review:

"Red-breasted nuthatches! Himalayan snowcocks! Spotted woodpeckers! Nutting's flycatchers! The Big Year is the Gumball Rally of birding — a rollicking, nonstop, trans-continental adventure. Mark Obmascik brings the doggedness of an investigative reporter, the grace of an accomplished storyteller, and the compassion of a fellow-traveling obsessive to this alluring quest for avian supremacy." Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak

Synopsis:

A rollicking, witty chronicle of the human need to conquer and categorize — in this case, every bird on the planet — no matter how low the stakes.

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, prize-winning 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.

About the Author

Mark Obmascik has been a journalist for two decades, most recently at the Denver Post, where he was lead writer for the newspaper's Pulitzer Prize in 2000 and winner of the 2003 National Press Club Award for environmental journalism. His freelance stories have been published in Outside and other magazines, and he has aired numerous political stories on public affairs and television news programs. An obsessed birder himself, he lives in Denver with his wife and sons.

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. January 1, 1998
2. A Birder Is Hatched
3. The Early Birds
4. Strategy
5. Bodega Bluff
6. Whirlwind
7. El Niño
8. The Wise Owl
9. Yucatán Express
10. The Big Yak
11. The Cradle of Storms
12. The B.O.D.
13. Doubt
14. Forked
15. Conquest
16. Cape Hatteras Clincher
17. Two in the Bush
18. Nemesis
19. Honorbound
20. December 31, 1998
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

LisaW, October 13, 2011 (view all comments by LisaW)
A bird watching page turner? Seriously? Yup! An intimate look at three fellows who were going after a "Big Year" record. They all broke records, but only one came in first. Their personal stories and the look at the bird culture will have you hooting and twittering as you fly through this book. Nyuk, nyuk. Will give you a whole new appreciation for all those LGB and LBBs you see at your feeder! You never know, you might need to send out an alert... then watch the real show begin. Oh yes, and long live Mr. Pants!!!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Shoshana, July 26, 2007 (view all comments by Shoshana)
In birding, a Big Year typically refers to a birder's attempt to see as many species as possible within a year in a constrained geographic area. In the case of the present book, that's North America, and three birders vie to beat the record and each other. The narrative follows all three men as they pursue totals of over 700 species each in the course of a year. Their travels are often unpleasant and expensive, highlighting the difference between avid birders whose motivation includes pleasure in the process, and competitive birders, who may well appreciate birds and finding them, but who are also driven by and enjoy competition.

This would be an enjoyable companion to Snetsinger's Birding on Borrowed Time, and Koeppel's To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession, which are about the pursuit of a life list (total number of species seen in a lifetime). By the way, the winner of the 1998 Big Year detailed in the present book still holds the record.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743245463
Author:
Obmascik, Mark
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Birds & Birdwatching - General
Subject:
General Nature
Subject:
Birdwatching Guides
Subject:
Nature Studies-Birds
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
February 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
index; bibliography
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 8.96 oz

Other books you might like

  1. The Golden Spruce: A True Story of...
    Sale Trade Paper $8.98
  2. Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the...
    Used Trade Paper $8.95
  3. The Feather Quest: a North American... Used Trade Paper $10.50
  4. Fifty Places to Go Birding before... Used Hardcover $4.50
  5. National Geographic Field Guide to... Used Trade Paper $12.50
  6. The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail of... Used Hardcover $7.95

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Reference
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » Birdwatching
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Featured Titles
Science and Mathematics » Ornithology » General Ornithology and Birding

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Free Press - English 9780743245463 Reviews:
"Review" by , "With a blend of humor and awe, Obmascik takes the reader into the heart of competitive birding, and in the process turns everyone into birders."
"Review" by , "By not revealing the outcome until the end of the book, Obmascik keeps the reader guessing in this fun account of a whirlwind pursuit of birding fame."
"Review" by , "Charming, engrossing, and educational even for people who can't tell a mudhen from a magpie."
"Review" by , "You'll gladly add this one to your own list — of surprisingly good books."
"Review" by , "Mark Obmascik understands birders, and in this book he has ventured bravely into the fringes of the hobby to report on a sort of extreme birding: the big year. It's the best and the worst of birding in one grueling yearlong contest, and you have to admire the rare passion and dedication that a big year attempt requires. The rest of us must be content with daydreaming about it, and this book will undoubtedly be the source of many daydreams." David Allen Sibley, author of The Sibley Guide to Birds
"Review" by , "Red-breasted nuthatches! Himalayan snowcocks! Spotted woodpeckers! Nutting's flycatchers! The Big Year is the Gumball Rally of birding — a rollicking, nonstop, trans-continental adventure. Mark Obmascik brings the doggedness of an investigative reporter, the grace of an accomplished storyteller, and the compassion of a fellow-traveling obsessive to this alluring quest for avian supremacy."
"Synopsis" by , A rollicking, witty chronicle of the human need to conquer and categorize — in this case, every bird on the planet — no matter how low the stakes.
"Synopsis" by , 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, prize-winning 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.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.