From a well-known outdoors and nature writer comes a narrative that explores a lifelong obsession with competitive birding.
What drives a man to travel to sixty countries and spend a fortune to count birds? And what if that man is your father?
Richard Koeppel’s obsession with birds began at the age of eleven, when he first spotted a brown thrasher and promptly jotted the sighting in a notebook. Several decades, one failed marriage, and two sons later, he added an astonishing 517 birds to that list on a single trip to Kenya. Soon after, he ended the last romantic relationship he would ever have, scaled down his medical practice, and decided to see every bird on earth, becoming a “Big Lister,” a member of a subculture of competitive bird-watchers worldwide, all pursuing the same goal. Over the course of twenty-five years, Koeppel added more than 7,000 species of birds (of a known 9,600) to his list, becoming one of about ten people ever to do so.
To See Every Bird on Earth explores the thrill of this chase, the all-absorbing crusade at the expense of all else, and travel, to places both dangerous and dull, for the sake of making a check mark in a notebook. A riveting glimpse into a fascinating subculture, To See Every Bird on Earth traces the love, loss, and reconnection between a father and a son, and explains why birds are so critical to the human search for our place in the world. Download and start listening now!