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Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World Paperback – Illustrated, September 25, 2018
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"Strycker's description of a year ‘expanded to its maximum potential’ will inspire readers to explore the world, ‘from the tiniest detail to the biggest panorama.’ . . . Colorful but unassuming—and unexpected—lessons for living life fully, presented from a birder's-eye view."—STARRED, Kirkus Reviews
"Every generation has a few naturalist-writers who have a spirit as unlimited as their talent—that’s Noah Strycker. The sheer demographics of his travels are mind boggling; he stretches life to the limits, and he has an ability to describe incidents of travel, landscapes, and people with splendid and self-deprecating intimacy. This book goes to the top of my life-list.”—Howard Norman, author of My Darling Detective
"Noah Strycker is a fantastic birder, savvy traveler, and astute observer. Best of all, though, he is a fine writer. I really enjoyed this book.”—Mark Obmascik, author of The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession
"Noah Strycker's ark is big enough for six thousand birds—and then some!—but just as impressive is the way this gifted gatherer makes room for wonder, joy, and friendship found in far-flung places. This is one of those rare, beautiful books that enlarges the world with adventure and makes it feel, at the same time, like a mysteriously intimate place, inhabited by good people in love with the natural world willing to help a stranger on his extraordinary journey."—Jonathan Rosen author of The Life of the Skies: Birding at the end of Nature
"Birding Without Borders is an absolute tour de force. Every birder knows the day-dream lure of exotic species from far-away places, but Noah Stryker turned that dream into the greatest birding adventure of all time. The story of his round-the-world Big Year is one of joy, adrenaline, exhaustion, discovery, and a global fellowship of those for whom, like Noah, birds are everything. I guarantee it will make you want to grab your binoculars and your passport, too.”—Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind
"What an astonishing peregrination. If by chance you can't meet these 6,042 species yourself, this book is a close second. Strycker is the perfect companion—smart, thoughtful, intrepid, and at times, very very funny. I loved the birds and the people he met and was sorry when his journey was over."—Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Genius of Birds
"Birding without Borders is about bird nerdery taken to a magnificent, even beautiful extreme. Noah Strycker goes from country to country seeking out five thousand species of birds, and that quest is an adventure in itself. Armchair birders like myself, watching a Pygmy Nuthatch watching me, can appreciate the passion and courage that Noah displays."—Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist
About the Author
NOAH STRYCKER is associate editor of Birding magazine and the author of several books. He has studied birds worldwide, and works as a guide on expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic, spreading the inspiration of birds from pole to pole.
- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Illustrated edition (September 25, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1328494632
- ISBN-13 : 978-1328494634
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #459,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To begin the STORY portion of the book is really quite short; 258 pages. So while there is some good material here it is just too short for the journey he took. In the book he skips several locations he visited deemed (I guess) uninteresting; that was a mistake in my mind. But more so what was REALLY missing was more of his subjects, the birds themselves in the context he was viewing them. Granted some of the truly rare birds are included and occasionally some really good adventures and descriptions built in (I think Peru was especially so) I was disappointed how infrequently he did that. This could have been a MUCH better book; much more interesting anyway if he had done more of that kind of writing. Maybe something more like "The Log from the Sea of Cortez". So, as a naturalist I found myself wanting. Competitive birders will likely satisfy themselves with the list, maybe dreaming how they can beat his numbers. He made it clear this was a personal journey though and I feel if there more of his connection to his subjects that this would have been a fantastic book. I'm probably being harsher than I should, it is a good read, I was just expecting so much more.
I'll finally add, that a book of this type has the potential to link through the ages, a year from now, ten years, a hundred and beyond. If he had been more explicit about his journey it is something that could be replicated and compared to is adventure (can you tell I'm a scientist?) Because he is doing his upmost to protect subjects he is often vague, understandable I suppose, but reduces the value of it potential contribution to ornithology.
In 2015, Noah Stryker set out to set the record for the most birds seen worldwide in the course of a calendar year. The previous record of 4341 had been set by a British couple Ruth Miller and Alan Davies in 2008. Noah not only broke this record but also crossed the 5,000 bird mark and then the 6,000 mark by the end of his journey. Noah, who has been writing about birds since he was a teenager for a variety of publications, made the trip out of a love for birds. His admiration for avian life and the natural world illuminates every page. Unlike many other big listers, Noah set out upon his journey to see iconic birds, and not just little brown jobs good for a tick. He travelled to Antarctica to see Penguins, the heart of the Pantanal to see the magnificent Harpy Eagle, and to a forgotten patch of Papua New Guinea to see a rare Golden Masked Owl. He survived illness, a car crash, and numerous missed connections. Through it all, he chronicles an excellent adventure through some of the world’s most remote landscapes. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in birdwatching, travel, or ecology.
Finding a passion and embracing it never sounded so good.
Top reviews from other countries
The text of Strycker's year long quest is there. Stryker recounts some of the special birds, people, and adventures as well as misadventures he has. The book is well written with an accessible style and humour.
Perhaps this is a book to be read in hard copy.