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Extreme Birder: One Woman's Big Year Paperback – March 17, 2011
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"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
"She wrote a book about her experience called Extreme Birder: One Woman's Big Year," which contains 140 of her photographs."
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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.