Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder by Kenn Kaufman

Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder

byKenn Kaufman

Paperback | April 11, 2006

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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.

About The Author

KENN KAUFMAN, originator of the Kaufman Field Guide series, is one of the world's foremost naturalists.

Details & Specs

Title:Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme BirderFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.79 inPublished:April 11, 2006Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0618709401

ISBN - 13:9780618709403

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Kaufman set out on his first solo birding trip when he was 16 years old, on a Greyhound bus, starting in Wichita, Kansas, and ending up in a California jail, for it was illegal for minors to be in that state without adult supervision. So began his quest to set a record: spotting the most North American bird species in a one-year period. Kaufman did just that in 1973, sighting what was then a record 229 species on a grueling hitchhiking trip that took him from Puget Sound to the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico. Other birding trips followed, from North Dakota to Alaska, from Alaska to Maine, from Maine to Mazatlan in Mexico, and from Arizona to New Jersey. On those arduous trips, too, the author hitchhiked, stopping to work at odd jobs to earn a few dollars. His book is a fascinating memoir of an obsession with birds.