Each year, hundreds of people set out across North America determined to set a new record in a spectacularly competitive event. Is it tennis? Golf? Racing? Poker perhaps? No, it’s bird-watching, and a contest known as the Big Year – a grand, gruelling, expensive (and occasionally vicious) 365-day marathon to identify the most species. THE BIG YEAR is the rollicking chronicle of the 275,000-mile odyssey of three unlikely adventurers who take their bird-watching so seriously it nearly kills them. From Texas in pursuit of the Rufus-capped Warbler to British Columbia in search of Xantus’ Hummingbird, these obsessive enthusiasts brave roasting deserts, storm-tossed oceans, infested swamps and disgruntled lions (not to mention some of the lumpiest hotel mattresses known to man) as they vie to become North America’s number one bird-watcher in what would prove to be the biggest Big Year of them all… In this captivating tour of human and avian nature, of courage and deceit, of passion and paranoia, prize-winning journalist Mark Obmascik reveals the extremes to which Man will go to pursue his dreams, to conquer and to categorize – no matter how low the stakes. Wonderfully funny, acutely observed and hugely entertaining, THE BIG YEAR is a lark of a read.