Book Review: CALL COLLECT, ASK FOR BIRDMAN


I just finished reading a book entitled CALL COLLECT, ASK FOR BIRDMAN by James M. Vardaman.  This is an account of one man’s endeavor to see 700 different species of birds in North America in one calendar year – 1979.  Mr. Vardaman, a businessman from Mississippi, got the idea from reading the American Birding Association publications.  A Big Year adventure became his goal.  He admitted that he was not an “expert” birder.  So he set about his task in a business-like way.  He realized that this adventure would not be cheap.  Looking at the project, he set up a budget, gathered together some of the top birders in the country.  They plotted out an itinerary.  It included numerous pelagic trips off both coasts, at least 5 trips to Alaska.  Trips to California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and several other states, including trips to Canada.  At the end of the year, he came up short.  Instead of 700 species, Mr. Vardaman saw 699.  Very close to his target.  Along the way he met lots of interesting people, saw a lot of incredible scenery, and learned a lot about birds.

The book is an easy read and provides lots of information about different birding localities.  I would recommend the book to anyone interested in birding.

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