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

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

4.5 7
by Kenn Kaufman
     
 

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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…  See more details below

Overview

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 do odd 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 of characters.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/01/2013
In Kaufman's picaresque big year as a teen hitchhiker, he traveled 69,000 miles, living on less than $2,000. A coming-of-age memoir with intimations of Kerouac, Tocqueville, and Walt Whitman.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547349442
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/11/2006
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
471,893
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

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

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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kenn Kauffman's memoir about his birding experiences in the 1970s. He gives just enough details without bogging you down. For those you have seen yourself, it makes your heart smile to think about them, and for the birds you haven't seen (yet), at least you can see them in your mind. Reading the book makes you think not only about the magnificence of birds, but also the importance of conserving their environment. My husband and I have avid birders for 24 years. We've been known to brave 115-degree temperatures (after flying through the end of a hurricane) to see hummingbirds in Arizona, drive for miles on gravelly road in Minnesota to spot our first Common Loon, break rental-car rules that prohibited dirt road travel, to spot the only whooping crane in a flock of Sandhills (what a thrill!). So you would think we couldn't appreciate birds more. But you'd be wrong. While devouring Kauffman's book on my Nook, I became even more appreciative of every single bird that I see, and I'm looking at them - studying them, even - with new eyes. I'm now following him on Facebook, and still learning from him - and I'll always be grateful to him, for his memoir.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm just finishing an earlier edition of this saga and don't want it to end. This book has boosted me from what I thought was serious birding, to a whole new level of interest and awareness of birding. I've gone out and immediately found birds and learned bird calls and have become a better birder for it. It's not the sophistication of the writing, as it isn't,  but the enthusiasm of the birders, and the excitement I often feel at identifying a new bird, or rare one; I spotted a California Condor feeding on a carcass in a campground at Morro Strand SP.   A very good read for natural world lovers, or casual birdwatchers.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kingbird Highway is a wonderful coming of age story concerning a young man's love of adventure and birding. Throughout the book the reader follows Kenn Kaufmann across America and beyond in his quest to break the big year birding record. It is a great story for those who love birds and for those who just like adventure. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kyohin More than 1 year ago
I don't think it was just because I am a birder, but I loved this book. I have attended a meeting where the author spoke and could hear his voice as he told this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago