In Adventures of a Louisiana Birder, Marybeth Lima chronicles five years in which she chased and 'listed' birds across the state - from Shreveport to Slidell - with her spouse, Lynn. A tale of competition and camaraderie within a community that traverses Louisiana's diverse, lush, and endangered habitats, Adventures of a Louisiana Birder shows how the joy of birding can bind people together, even in the face of adversity.
This candid and humorous chronicle shows how one woman goes from
casual observer to obsessive bird nerd as she traverses Louisiana’s
avian paradise. In
Adventures of a Louisiana Birder, readers follow Marybeth Lima
across her adopted state in search of 300 species of birds. Bisected by
the Mississippi flyway and home to 400 miles of coast, Louisiana has a
variety of habitats, which serve as a beautiful
backdrop to this remarkable journey.
In birding circles, some devotees attempt what is known as a “big
year,” a bird-sighting challenge to identify as many bird species as
possible in a particular geographical area over the course of one year.
Lima’s initial effort amounted to 11,626 miles
in sixty-one road trips to log an impressive 280 species. But on a
subsequent quest to exceed her record, she endures elusive birds,
embarrassing misidentifications, and hungry insects in an effort to
reach her goal. In the midst of these obstacles, Lima celebrates
the camaraderie and friendly competition among fellow birders, from
novices to a world-renown ornithologist. Requiring both mental focus and
physical agility, birdwatching becomes an active sport through Lima’s
narration. She vividly conveys the elation over
a rare species seen or heard and the disappointment when one is
narrowly missed. An appendix provides the location and date of every
species she identifies.
Lima’s personal experiences are interwoven with the excitement of
tracking down one intriguing species after another. She faces a
near-fatal burn accident to her spouse, end-of-life care for her
mother-in-law, and Louisiana’s great flood of 2016. In the
midst of these situations, her devotion to birding provides a
“Somewhere in the roiling confluence of birds, locales, and human
personalities,” writes Lima, “the center of my heart sings with utter
Adventures of a Louisiana Birder is the author’s call to a deeper passion for and awareness of Louisiana’s unique natural beauty and vulnerability.