Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review: To See Every Bird on Earth

      Sometimes you read a book That really gets your attention. Recently I read "To See Every Bird on Earth" by Dan Koeppel. This is a biography of Dan's dad, Richard, and it's told in an interesting way. 

     Dan's father first became interested in birds when he was twelve. For the rest of his life  revolved around birds.

     Dan's father, Richard had a difficult family situation. His parents wanted him to become a doctor from the time he was born. Richard was torn between pleasing his parents and wanting to do something else in his life. Over time he completed a medical degree. 

    Richard was a youth during the 50's and 60's and participated in the hippie culture. Richard married and had two children but the relationship was a failure and was a failure after the separation as well. 

    As a result of great unhappiness Richard turned to birds. In fact he became obsessed with birds. Richard was a lister. This means that all he wanted to do is make a list of birds. His goal was to see all the birds on earth.

    Dan Koeppel takes us through the world of bird listers as he tells us about his father. He compares his father to other listers and explains why his father was a successful lister. Richard saw and listed over 7000 birds. 

    Dan Koeppel spares no details as he describes the completely chaotic family relationship. It was a challenge for all of them. His father Richard gradually followed his bird listing hobby until it was a full time obsession.

    So I found this biography interesting as it covered my interest in birds , explained the world of bird listers and told about the challenges in life one individual faced.

    I enjoyed the book . If you like birds or stories that are told , warts and all, this is the book for you.

    Simon Winchester has a quote on the front cover. I've read 7 of Winchester's books so if Simon Winchester liked this one I thought it was a good recommendation.


  1. Sounds interesting Red. You mentioned the relationship was a failure even after the separation. If his son is telling the story can I assume he had a good relationship with him? I have only been really interested in birds for the past six years since we moved after retirement. The rural area gives me a good place to watch. I do admire those who follow the birds so to speak just to see them. Some take vacations to the best sites. I don't think I'd ever get into it that much but I do enjoy all that my local area has to offer. Now I need to follow your link to Simon Winchester to find out who he is. :)

  2. I just went over to my library app and put it on my list. Thanks, Red! :-)

  3. i can see where 'listing' could become an obsession.

  4. Sounds very interesting - I shall check this out on my kindle and put it on soon to be read list. Thanks Red for this post.

  5. I think I would like it , I like meat and potato books .
    Actually I like just about any book ~ and the list goes on ;)

  6. I'm not a "lister", but I do enjoy seeing al the birds in my yard and at my feeders.