By: Richard Pope
216 pages, Col photos
The human side of birding comes to the fore in this serious yet humorous account of birds and birding and the art of chasing rarities. Richard Pope, a lifelong birder, had successfully avoided this latter pursuit for many years but capitulated in 2007 when he embarked on his 'Big Year', the object being to record at least 300 birds in Ontario within that calendar period.
Almost instantly a relatively normal bird watcher morphed into a 'twitcher', albeit reluctantly, pursuing rare species of birds, from Rainy River to the Ottawa and well beyond his wildest expectations. Not just another book on birding, Pope's unique approach is supported by an array of exceptional colour illustrations, many from the collection of Mark Peck, senior ornithologist at the Royal Ontario Museum.
The magical record for a Big Year in Ontario was set by Glen Coady in 1996 when he tracked down 339 species. Will Richard Pope crack 300? Will he see the elusive dickcissel at the Ferndale Flats on the Bruce Peninsula? Can he afford to pay his gasoline bill for thousands of kilometers traveled following the demands of an obsession? Put down you binos and pick up a copy of The Reluctant Twitcher and find out. -- The Sun Times (Owen Sound, ON; circ: 15,049) Oct. 7, 2009
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