2008: 75. To See Every Bird On Earth

“My father and I were drinking champagne on a remote island in the Rio Negro, the dark river that flows into the Brazilian Amazon.”

To See Every Bird On Earth, Dan Koeppel                    

This is the story of the author’s father, Richard Koeppel, who is a world champion bird watcher - no, birder, who has seen more than 7,000 birds in his life.  It is the story of competitive bird watching, a subculture you didn’t even know existed.  These people are not just bird watchers, but obsessive bird watchers - in many sense more interested in the numbers than the birds themselves (one watcher counts the bird songs alone, and once he hears the notes, crosses it off and never thinks about it again).  There is something Asberger’s like about the obsession to see as many birds as humanly possible, and the drive to see more and more.  The book is also the story of Richard’s life, his relationship with his parents, who forced him to be a doctor when he wanted to be an ornithologist, his failed marriage, and his often tortured relationship with his two sons.  Koeppel (junior, that is) uses his dad love of birding to both explain an obsessive subculture and his father’s life, and both are pretty interesting.  Not too bad for my 600’s Dewey Decimal read!


Date/Place Completed: 6/4/08; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction; Library Book; Dewey Decimal

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017