401 pages, no illustrations
Early in 2013 Neil Hayward was at a crossroads. He didn't want to open a bakery or whatever else executives do when they quit a lucrative but unfulfilling job. He didn't want to think about his failed relationship with "the one" or his potential for ruining a new relationship with "the next one". And he almost certainly didn't want to think about turning forty. And so instead he went birding.
Birding was a lifelong passion. It was only among the birds that Neil found a calm that had eluded him in the confusing world of humans. But this time he also found competition. His growing list of species reluctantly catapulted him into a Big Year – a race to find the most birds in one year. His peregrinations across twenty-eight states and six provinces in search of exotic species took him to a hoarfrost-covered forest in Massachusetts to find a Fieldfare; to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to see a rare Nutting's Flycatcher; and to Vancouver for the Red-flanked Bluetail. Neil's Big Year was as unplanned as it was accidental: It was the perfect distraction to life.
Neil shocked the birding world by finding 749 species of bird and breaking the long-standing Big Year record. He also surprised himself: During his time among the hummingbirds, tanagers, and boobies, he found a renewed sense of confidence and hope about the world and his place in it.
"[...] Lost Among the Birds is the perfect title for this book. It reflects the fact that, for the vast majority of the year, Hayward was indeed out among the birds. But ‘lost’ also reflects how the author viewed his place in life. His big year was remarkable for the number of birds he saw. However, the changes it wrought in his outlook on life (along with the help of medicine and the support of an unbelievably patient partner) were of even greater consequence. That story, told in an entertaining, witty style (I can’t believe this is Hayward’s first book!), make this a most pleasurable read, even for those who aren’t hard-core big year listers. [...]"
– Grant McCreary (08-09-2016), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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