Review of “Birding without Borders”

DaveBirds, Book Reviews, BooksLeave a Comment

This is not a book about birds. It’s a book about a quest to spot more bird species in a single year than any birder ever has before. Noah Strycker accomplished his quest and set the record, so far, at 6,042. But I’m far more interested in the birds than I am in the logistics of the quest, or the fleeting descriptions of the dozens and dozens of volunteer birders around the world who literally spotted the birds and identified them for him.
Bird number 5,000 was a Flame-crowned Flowerpecker. Strycker describes it: “Glossy black above, white below, dark face, and a red cap.” There are only photos of nine of the 6,042 birds spotted, and one of those is not the Flowerpecker, which looks like this:

I loved reading about the birds with strange names like Flowerpecker: the Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant, the Shining Sunbeam, Marvelous Spatuletail, and the Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, but Strycker’s descriptions of their appearance and habits were necessarily brief. So, I tediously looked them up and here they are:

Hopefully, the data he gathered, especially the photos he took, will be accumulated somewhere in several volumes of books, or more likely online. I admire Strycker’s feat, but to me it’s like birding in fast-forward.