To See Every Bird on Earth
A Father, A Son, and A Lifelong ObsessionBook - 2005
From a well-known outdoors and nature writer comes a narrative that explores a lifelong obsession with competitive birding. What drives a man to travel to sixty countries and spend a fortune to count birds? And what if that man is your father? Richard Koeppel's obsession began at the age of eleven, in Queens, New York, when he first spotted a Brown Thrasher and promptly jotted the sighting in a notebook. Several decades, one failed marriage, and two sons later, he added an astonishing 517 birds to that list on a single trip to Kenya. Soon after, he ended the last romantic relationship he would ever have, scaled down his medical practice, and decided to see every bird on earth, becoming a "Big Lister," a member of a subculture of competitive bird-watchers worldwide, all pursuing the same goal. Over twenty-five years, he collected more than 7,000 species (of a known 9,600), becoming one of about ten people ever to do so. To See Every Bird on Earthexplores the thrill of this chase, the all-absorbing crusade at the expense of all else, and travel, to places both dangerous and dull, for the sake of making a check mark in a notebook. It's also the story of obsession-answering the questions why list? and why birds?-and how it defines us. A riveting glimpse into a fascinating subculture, To See Every Bird on Earth traces the love, loss, and reconnection between a father and a son, and explains why birds are so critical to the human search for our place in the world.
Publisher: New York : Hudson Street Press, c2005
Characteristics: xviii, 278 p. : ill. ; 24 cm