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Extreme Birder: One Woman's Big Year Paperback – March 17, 2011

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Extreme Birder: One Woman's Big Year + Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lynn Barber challenges a traditionally male-dominated pursuit--the birding big year--and is successful beyond her wildest dreams. She is an inspiration for all who love adventure, nature, and birds."--Lynn Hassler, author, Birds of the American Southwest

(Lynn Hassler 2010-10-25)

"Any birder who begins a new year by writing a list of birds seen will want to join Lynn as she goes through the year trying to find new birds for her Big Year. A bird addict whose urge can only be satified by seeing a new bird. . . and then. . . another new bird."--Sandy Komito, author, Birding's Indiana Jones, A Chaser's Diary
(Sandy Komito Author of Birding's Indiana Jones, A Chaser's Diary 2010-10-26)

"This is a book for birders who wish to understand the daily chronicle of extreme birding. I have nothing but admiration and not a little bit of envy for Lynn Barber's Big Year odyssey. Her discipline, her rigor, her humor and her passion are found in very few; she is one in a million."--Jane Alexander, actress and birder
 

 
(Jane Alexander)

"...devoted to a near-daily journal of Barber's birding activities...positive even when she faces setbacks...enjoyably whimsical...an enjoyable read...will undoubtedly encourage other birders to do their own big year...recommended for anyone interested in the birding and the lengths birders will go to set a new record."--C. J. B., The International Journal of Avian Science

(C. J. B. The International Journal of Avian Science 2011-10-10)

"...723 species...Extreme Birder has the immediate feel of accounts taken straight from Barber's diary...fine portrait of two Spotted Owls...Barber narrates the highs and lows, the excitement and despair...the book is attractively designed."--Rob Hilton, Texas Birds Annual 2011

(Rob Hilton Texas Birds Annual 2011 2011-10-18)

"In her big year, Barber took 92 flights and visited 25 states and three Canadian provinces. She was rewarded with observing 723 bird species, which is one of the highest totals ever achieved and the highest by any woman. In all, she traveled more than 175,000 miles that year and photographed 503 species."



"She wrote a book about her experience called Extreme Birder: One Woman's Big Year," which contains 140 of her photographs."

(Cindy Card Buchholz Rapid City Journal 2011-10-26)

About the Author

LYNN E. BARBER of Fort Worth is a board member of the American Birding Association and president of the Texas Ornithological Society. A past president of the Fort Worth Audubon Society, she writes regularly for the chapter's newsletter and lectures across the nation about her life as a "traveling birder."
 
 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603442618
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603442619
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mike on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extreme Birder offers two interesting features that are unusual for big year birding accounts: numerous real time photographs and short poems. Nearly every other page has a photograph taken by the author. Many of them are magnificent, but I appreciate the imperfect shots of rare and secretive species. These photos allow the reader to share her actual views of the birds. They contribute to a visually appealing book. The rhymes were apparently composed during Barber's down time, such as on her many flights. They add a touch of charm and emotion to the text.

Those features notwithstanding, I found the writing to be dull. The text is presented in journal style, and flows much like a blog. Many of the entries begin with a slight variation of "It was a good day today", another way of saying "I saw the bird I was looking for". To her credit, Barber did not embellish her adventures, but I think she could have done more to compose a more lively narrative. Actually, for a book entitled Extreme Birder, there isn't much in the text that we haven't read before. Barber operated like most other big year birders, used the typical guide books and rare bird alerts to plan trips, and stopped at the typical birding hotspots. She seemed more like a typical birder than an extreme birder. However, her big year bird list was truly impressive, exceeding lists by all other birders going before her, except one (Sandy Komito). From this perspective, she was extreme indeed.

If you are like me and can't resist reading accounts of birding big years, you will probably want to buy this book. But in my opinion, Kingbird Highway (Kenn Kaufman) and The Big Year (Mark Obmascik) clearly remain as the standard in big year writing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Claude C. on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Lynn Barber's Extreme Birder gripped my wife and I to the point that we hated to see the big year end. It's a genuine adventure book, written as a day-by-day diary, that kept us turning the pages as the author identified more than 700 bird species in locations ranging from city back yards to the remote Alaska wilderness. It's great, and one of a kind. Claude C.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lulubelle on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have had the pleasure of meeting Lynn and know that she is an excellent birder. I delayed reading her book because of some of the reviews and then found it for a really good price, so I got it. The book is written in journal or blog format and I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about that. Yes, some of the entries are really short considering some of the birds she was finding and the great lengths she was going to do so. That being said, I felt she really conveyed the trials and tribulations of a Big Year Birder. You got the sense of joy, of excitement, of frustration and some times the absolute tiredness that has to, at times, overshadow everything. As great as a Big Year has to be, you know they get tired of driving, flying, getting lost, being away from their families, of missing the target bird multiple times, of picking & choosing the bird to go for (and hoping that not only did you make the right decision, but that the bird will still be there). Not to mention the money involved - this is not a cheap undertaking.

I too enjoyed her photos and while the poems didn't do much for me, they along with her drawings, gave the book a very personal feel. In this respect this book is different from the other Big Year accounts and it works.

I say give the book a shot - I don't think you will be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Hays on June 2, 2011
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If you enjoy birds, or any nature for that matter, then you will probably enjoy this book. It is interesting and fun...can't imagine ever doing a "big year" but fun to read about others who do.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Terry Hurst on May 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could not finish this book, because it never grabbed my interest. Day by day of where she went, and what birds she saw, got old very quick. The photography is the only reason why I am keeping this book. For fun reads, as well as hair raising adventures of some remarkable birders I recommend "The Big Year" by Mark Obmascik, "Kingbird Highway" by Ken Kaufman and "Birding on Borrowed Time" by Phoebe Snetsinger.
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Whether you are an aspiring birder, or just someone who enjoyed to movie "The Big Year," you'll enjoy this book. Lynn Barber's book reads like a daily diary so it was interesting to see what would happen day-to-day, week-to-week. You feel like you are taking the journey with her. The book was very enjoyable. I admired Ms. Barber's knowledge and expertise as one of the best birders - perhaps the best female birder - the US has.
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