Joshua Rich
February 06, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Big Year

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Mark Obmascik
publisher
The Free Press
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A

Rare birds indeed, Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller are three colorful members of a beguiling species: the North American birder. In 1998, the two wealthy retirees and one broke programmer embarked on a ”Big Year,” a grueling quest to spot more than 700 kinds of flying fauna in 365 days, their circle’s equivalent to scaling Everest. Journalist Mark Obmascik’s terrifically penned story, The Big Year, nimbly recounts both the expensive antics of our zealous heroes (they helicopter over mountains, bicycle in the Aleutians, and barf on coastal cruises) and a history of the hobby itself. The ”Orchid Thief”-like result is a real kick — as much for people who use bird as a verb as for folks who don’t know a chuck-will’s-widow from a whiskered auklet.

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