An international Big Year is almost beyond comprehension and something I have zero interest in actually trying to accomplish but I’m not Noah Strycker. Not many people are. But reading about this adventure in Birding Without Borders should be on your to-do list. Truly enjoyed this book and learned quite a lot along the way.
In 2015, Noah Strycker set out with a backpack and binoculars(and a Leica) to forty-one different countries in an attempt to set the International Big Year record. His goal was 5000 different species across the entire world. No days off, full battle plan, and hoping that Lady Luck would be on his side. Just imagine dealing with the airlines alone. My last international trip got canceled five times before I just gave up and stayed home.
Starting in Antarctica and breezing through the other continents Strycker is relentless but also makes sure to connect with local birders along the way. In fact, working with local bird experts is really the reason he can even make a go at the record. The international birding network was not something I was familiar with, and Strycker takes full advantage. And when considering the scale, range, and complexity in reaching birding areas there really wasn’t any other way.
This book, like Kingbird Highway, isn’t just about birds. This is about nature, the natural world, environmental destruction, climate change, and the wonderful world of feather friends. It’s also friendship, patience, observation, and dedication. Yesterday, while on a short hike, for the first time in my life I noticed a Northern Flicker. I saw motion, up came the twenty-year-old binoculars and suddenly I was staring at this thing staring at me. It was beautiful. So well designed, so sleek, and with a masterful color palette.