A birder reflects on Big Years

In his staggering, beautiful, and informative ode to birding, “How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding,” birder and magazine editor Ted Floyd takes a brief look at the genesis of my seventh decade of obsessive focus, the Big Year. Here’s some of what he says (p. 223): “Everyone who’s ever done a Big Year reports that the experience is, more than anything else, an occasion for introspection. Several of the most celebrated birding memoirs ever written are accounts of Big Years. Do a Big Year, and you’re practically guaranteed to discover new things about birds—and about yourself. ” Nearly halfway through my Big Decade, I can confirm that Floyd is spot on.

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