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Publisher's Summary

Early in 2013 Neil Hayward was at a crossroads. He didn't want to open a bakery or whatever else executives do when they quit a lucrative but unfulfilling job. He didn't want to think about his failed relationship with 'the one' or his potential for ruining a new relationship with 'the next one'. And he almost certainly didn't want to think about turning 40. And so instead he went birding.
Birding was a lifelong passion. It was only among the birds that Neil found a calm that had eluded him in the confusing world of humans. But this time he also found competition. His growing list of species reluctantly catapulted him into a Big Year - a race to find the most birds in one year. His peregrinations across 28 states and six provinces in search of exotic species took him to a hoarfrost-covered forest in Massachusetts to find a fieldfare; to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to see a rare Nutting's flycatcher; and to Vancouver for the red-flanked bluetail.
Neil's Big Year was as unplanned as it was accidental: It was the perfect distraction from life. Neil shocked the birding world by finding 749 species of bird and breaking the long-standing Big Year record. He also surprised himself: during his time among the hummingbirds, tanagers, and boobies, he found a renewed sense of confidence and hope about the world and his place in it.
©2016 Neil Hayward (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Narrator Sam Devereaux flawlessly portrays transplanted Brit Neil Hayward, who gives up his lucrative biotechnology career to bird-watch and heal after a painful breakup. Devereaux's Hayward generously shares the thrill of bird-watching as he quietly hides in cold, wet bushes, awaiting the arrival of these most elusive creatures. With a count of 749 birds, Hayward breaks the American Birding Association's Big Year record. The most fun comes from Hayward's accent and wit, both delivered authentically by Devereaux. When Hayward travels with an array of American bird-watchers, Devereaux continues to present an impressive range of accents. Even non- bird-watchers will enjoy Hayward's musings on nature and life - both human and avian. Listeners will experience Hayward's joy as he regains his confidence and realizes that Gerri, his new girlfriend, is perfect for him." (AudioFile magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By C. Telfair on 08-27-17

Know a Birder? This will help you Understand.

I'm certain that anyone who is a birder will love this book. Those of us who like birds (sure, who doesn't?) and are glad they're around but don't so much understand the compulsion to chase them down and log every spot and stripe might not be so sure.

The good news is that, for birder or non, this book is fascinating. Neil Hayward is a very good writer. He makes you see, hear, and really want those birds right along with him! He's wonderful at describing all the out-of-the-way places a big birder visits and the conditions he/she must endure and all the odd characters (feathered and not feathered) met along the way.

And it's not just about the birds! Hayward's year was also about self analysis and self discovery. He's a nearly-40 year old man who is looking for a new direction in his career and facing the reality of his hesitation in forming and keeping relationships.

With humor and passion, Neil Hayward sweeps us along on his year-long journey. Lessons about birds, sure, but also about humanity, life, and love are here.

All this, plus darn good narration by Sam Devereaux - this book about birds flies high!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Anita on 07-29-16

Birding is the original "Pokemon-go!"

I've known a couple of birders - and they're really not that peculiar. I've seen the movie "A BIg Year." I've even been mildly intrigued by the thought of birding - thought never knowing how one actually began. Then, I listened to this book. Part birding book, part self-help/acknowledgement book - it caused me to buy the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds - Western Edition as well as downloading their iPhone app!

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Steph H on 03-19-17

Rather annoying

Didn't really enjoy this book, but it was useful as a rather monotonous voice to listen to to drop off to sleep to.

I actively listened to the last chapter and the epilogue and was annoyed yet again by the self indulgence.

The bit in the last chapter about the 'evolution' of birds is just ridiculous and really rather pompous.

The only redeeming factor is as mentioned earlier it's perfectly boring to fall asleep to.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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