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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the…
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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder (original 2006; edição 2006)

por Kenn Kaufman (Autor)

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262976,893 (4.33)23
At sixteen, Kenn Kaufman dropped out of the high school where he was student council president and hit the road, hitching back and forth across America, from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Mexico. Maybe not all that unusual a thing to do in the seventies, but what Kenn was searching for was a little different: not sex, drugs, God, or even self, but birds. A report of a rare bird would send him hitching nonstop from Pacific to Atlantic and back again. When he was broke he would pick fruit or doodd jobs to earn the fifty dollars or so that would last him for weeks. His goal was to set a record - most North American species seen in a year - but along the way he began to realize that at this breakneck pace he was only looking, not seeing. What had been a game became a quest for a deeper understanding of the natural world. Kingbird Highway is a unique coming-of-age story, combining a lyrical celebration of nature with wild, and sometimes dangerous, adventures, starring a colorful cast ofcharacters.… (mais)
Membro:breic
Título:Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder
Autores:Kenn Kaufman (Autor)
Informação:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2006), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:***
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder por Kenn Kaufman (2006)

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    Birders: Tales of a Tribe por Mark Cocker (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Tales of extreme birding on both sides of the Atlantic.
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I think that Strycker's big year bird list book, "Birding Without Borders," is much more interesting for a general reader, since Strycker interleaves vignettes from his trip with information about birds and birding. Kaufman's book is focused on the trip, except for a bit of romance and youthful angst. You can't help but learn something about birds and birding, and it is hard to resist looking up the species to learn more, but that's not a big focus. It is also an impressive story, hitchhiking across the country for a year to find birds. For a birder, at least, this is still a fun read.

> the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists’ Union. This group publishes the AOU Check-list of North American Birds … We were all happily using the 1957 list, and subconsciously we had come to regard it as permanent. But not anymore. Birders were now talking about the “great April massacre of 1973.” Since we counted only full species in our listing games, the action of the AOU had lowered everyone’s lists.

> The Myrtle Warbler had been lumped with the western Audubon’s Warbler under the uninspiring name of Yellow-rumped Warbler. Baltimore and Bullock’s orioles had been merged into Northern Oriole … Perhaps now the Cape Sable Sparrow would fall from the birders’ field of view and skulk back into the oblivion from which it had arisen in 1918. Whether it would count for my 1973 year list was unclear. The American Birding Association had no rules dealing with taxonomic changes made in midyear.

> Under the classification used then, the world’s total bird list was considered to be 8,600 species, and Stuart Keith had become the first person ever to see 4,300 of those in the wild

> We had scored 203 on that run, the first “official” 200-plus Big Day in Texas. But that was nowhere near the North American record of 227, set by Guy McCaskie’s team in California the year before.

> This phenomenon—of rare birds attracting more birders, who then find more rare birds, attracting more birders, and so on—was soon given a name: “The Patagonia Picnic Table Effect.”

> No prospects. That was true, wasn’t it? I was working so hard on my year list this year, but what was it going to bring me in the real world? Nothing. Even if I won the year-list “contest,” at year’s end I would still be an unemployed high-school dropout with no prospects for the future.

> I had broken the year-list record in late July, and now I was up to 630. Hardly forty species remained that I could reasonably hope to find before the year ended. But the five months ahead might not be enough time to find them all; those forty species were scattered all over the continent, mostly uncommon birds in out-of-the-way places.

> In short, Axtell’s conclusion was that this mystery shorebird, with its blackish feathers, odd-colored legs, and strange behavior, was merely a yellowlegs that had gotten into some oil. Standing there reading and rereading this bombshell, I was in shock. … the general conclusion was that Harold Axtell had been right and that all the dozens of other birders had been wrong. This episode had a profound impact on me—partly because I’d spent five days hitching in the rain, 2,500 miles out of my way.

> birders had accepted the American Ornithologists’ Union definition of “North America” as consisting of Canada, the United States, and three other nearby areas with similar birdlife: Greenland, Bermuda, and the peninsula of Baja California.

> Just because I had broken listing records, they expected me to be a top-notch birder—and I was not. They were comparing me to Ted Parker, who had set the record just two years before—but there was really no comparison.

> The totals amassed by Murdoch and me would be edged out in 1976, as a young ornithology student named Scott Robinson made a low-budget, high-knowledge run around the continent. But that would be the last time that any record could be set by a birder who focused on the normally occurring birds. … Floyd Murdoch won: in the region that would become the official checklist area of the American Birding Association, he tallied 669 species, three more than I. However, many birders in 1973 were still using the old checklist area of the American Ornithologists’ Union, which included Baja California; my five Baja birds brought my list up to 671. ( )
  breic | Apr 7, 2021 |
I loved this book. I serendipitously got to go birding with Kaufman for a few hours earlier this year, and decided to read his memoir of his Big Year. But it is so much more than that.

Towards the end of his year, and of this book, he started to tire of the competitive listing he was doing. He just wanted to focus on the birds. Though I am nowhere near the level of birder he is, I reached the same conclusion late in Spring migration. I stopped caring about adding birds to my total, and just started focusing on the birds that were in front of me. Reading this book has made me more steadfast in my position about why I bird.

I think this book can be enjoyed by birders and non-birders alike, but it is essential reading if you are a birder. ( )
  evenlake | Mar 23, 2021 |
In 1973, Kenn Kaufman's parents allowed him to drop out of high school and pursue his passion for birding. He undertook a Big Year, traveling all over the United States to see as many birds as possible. He hitchhiked everywhere, spent around $1,000 on his expenses for the entire year, and amassed a list of over 600 different species. Today, he is one of America's foremost birding experts. I'm a birder myself, but obviously not to the extent of this man. I would have been more interested in his story had he talked more about the birds rather than his traveling adventures getting to and from each of his stops. It was interesting, but also kind of boring at times. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Jun 11, 2019 |
“But in the early 1970s, we were not birdwatching. We were birding, and that made all the difference. We were out to seek, to discover, to chase, to learn, to find as many different kinds of birds as possible...”

Ken Kaufmann dropped out of high school and went on a quest, with a backpack, a pair of binoculars and virtually no money. Since this was the early 70s, his mode of transportation, the cheapest available, was hitchhiking.
Kaufmann's quest was to see as many different bird species, in North America, in one year, as he could, attempting to beat the old record. This is extreme birding at it's craziest, which makes for an entertaining journey.
This coming of age memoir, is his story. It also coincides with a time when birding in America really took off and it became a serious pursuit.
Obviously, this book is not for everyone, but if you like birds and nature and enjoy a good travel tale, you might want to give to give it a look. ( )
1 vote msf59 | Jun 18, 2018 |
This compelling story generates fast-paced reading with (confirmed) appeal to birders and non-birders alike. Kaufman's story would probably be just another semi-interesting tale of a birder's Big Year if it weren't for the uniqueness of his approach and the single-minded depth of his passion. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
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Dedicated to the memory of Theodore A. Parker III 1953-1993
Ted Parker was not destined to slow down, ever.
He was like a runaway train,
except that he was running on tracks that
he had planned out for himself, and he knew
exactly where he was going.
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I went out on the road, to chase my dream, at the age of nine. That was what I used to tell the girls I met while I was bumming rides around North America in the 1970s; and, of course, they didn't believe me any more than you do.
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At sixteen, Kenn Kaufman dropped out of the high school where he was student council president and hit the road, hitching back and forth across America, from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Mexico. Maybe not all that unusual a thing to do in the seventies, but what Kenn was searching for was a little different: not sex, drugs, God, or even self, but birds. A report of a rare bird would send him hitching nonstop from Pacific to Atlantic and back again. When he was broke he would pick fruit or doodd jobs to earn the fifty dollars or so that would last him for weeks. His goal was to set a record - most North American species seen in a year - but along the way he began to realize that at this breakneck pace he was only looking, not seeing. What had been a game became a quest for a deeper understanding of the natural world. Kingbird Highway is a unique coming-of-age story, combining a lyrical celebration of nature with wild, and sometimes dangerous, adventures, starring a colorful cast ofcharacters.

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