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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder Paperback – Apr 11 2006


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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder + Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding + The Shorebird Guide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (April 11 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618709401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618709403
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By LJM on March 7 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting and quick read...you almost feel like you're on the road with Kaufman... You will love it if you love birding!
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Format: Paperback
I read this book a couple of years ago ,haven't been writing reviews for long;but thought I would go back to this fine effort.I've read a lot of " road" books by some of the best; such as Heat-Moon,Kerouac,Mc Murtry,Peterson/Fisher,Steinbeck,Teale,Caldwell ;but as good as these were, none were written with the passion and self involvement that Kaufman brings to this book.He didn't set out to roam the country to escape,find himself,to discover the people or country.He set with the purpose of finding as many bird species as he could in one year ; wrote a book about it,and even though the goal was not just to write a book; he produced one that is as good as the "best".As a Birder ,we have all experienced many of the things he did ;but without the endurance,passion and commitment that he did.I thought I experienced cold along the Niagara River looking for Gulls in the Winter;but this was mild compared to sleeping in a car on the East coast when it was "cold as an Eskimo's tomb",eating from a can of cold soup at the ABA onvention,or having "his" scope blown away during a storm while doing the Christmas Bird count.If you like road books;but even more so if you enjoy nature/birding you just gotta read this gem !In my opinion he is right up there with the best of them.
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By A Customer on Aug. 1 2003
Format: Paperback
Great read. Any serious birder will like it as will a general audience that likes books along the lines of William Least-Moon.
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Format: Paperback
If you're stuck in a boring 9-5 job after having paid your dues with years of higher education, you'll be jealous of Kenn Kaufman's freedom at a young age to do what he wanted, learn what he wanted and lay the groundwork for one of the most successful careers in birding in the U.S.
If you're a birder, or at least trying to be a birder, you'll be jealous of the amount of ground Kenn Kaufman covered in the span of a few short years to see and marvel at 100's of birds.
If you're a writer, whether published or not, you'll be jealous of Kenn Kaufman's ability to write a such vividly-rendered account of his souped-up travails engaging in one of the most sympathetic pastimes to develop among modern humans, that of birding, contextualized with his growing awareness of the impact of human encroachment on the wilderness as an increasingly serious environmental problem. Whether the story surveys Kaufman's encounters with the awfully unlucky Myrtle Warblers stuck on North Carolina's Outer Banks in the winter of '73, the transplanted Skylarks of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, or the migrating warblers stopping for a respite at Fort Jefferson in the Tortugas; or whether Kaufman is birding with his group of friends self-dubbed the "Tucson Five," or enduring the numbing experience of "thumbing" on the road for months on end; he makes you see what he's seeing and feel what he's feeling.
Finally, if you're someone who treasures the comforts of a soft pillow at night and a warm, dry roof over your head, you have to admire Kaufman's tenacity in dealing with -- and his almost joyful tolerance of-- bad weather, having to hike for miles before finding that much-needed ride or the 669th bird for his Big Year List, and, especially, the hunger born of a budget that probably didn't quite reach shoe-string level.
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By Jena Ball on Jan. 14 2002
Format: Paperback
Some decisions just can't be justified by logic or reason. They come from a place inside us that won't be denied - that has an agenda all its own.
And so it was for Kenn Kaufman, a bright young high school student who quit the academic life (bored stiff) to explore the one thing that had grabbed and held his attention from an early age - BIRDS.
Kauffman's approach to birding is simple. Work just enough to accumulate funds for travel, then hit the road with your thumb extended and a backpack full of field guides, the cheapest food you can find, and the rudiments of self-hygiene. When I tell you that Kauffman once ate dry cat food to save money, you will understand why the subtitle of this book is "a natural obsession that got a little out of hand." Kauffman is definitely eccentric, though delightfully so, and it quickly becomes apparent that he is in search of more than birds on his journey.
Kauffman's travels take him back and forth across the North American continent, up to Alaska, down into Mexico and occasionally out to sea, where in addition to finding birds he connects and makes friends with a large network of equally obsessed birders. Meet Ted Parker, the wonder kid of the birding world described as a "super being." Then there are Peli and Rose Ann who give him the nickname Kingbird, and the Tuscon Five, Kauffman's band of birding buddies who are willing to drop their college studies at a moment's notice to follow him into the field. Other memorable characters include a falconer turned conservationist, Diana who drives Kauffman to the local dump in search of Mexican crows, and Charlie who "...had not held a regular job in 30 years."
In addition to unusual characters, you will be introduced to the world of "Lists," "Big Days," "Christmas Bird Counts," and "Big Years.
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