|Birders: Tales of a Tribe
by Mark Cocker
|This book sparks widely divergent reactions.
Some find it an amusing, if subtly admonitory,
account of obsessive British birders whose
lives revolve around traveling great distances
at the drop of hat to spot some rarity. Others,
especially birders with a more balanced and
restrained approach to their avocation, are
repelled by what they see as a glamorization
of their more depraved brethren.
From personal experience, this reviewer does
indeed know more than a few people who merely
drift through life, shunning gainful employment,
solely to have free time for birding. Many
of these sad cases invest enormous amounts
of ego in their ability to ID birds, while
being otherwise rather maladjusted. Deliberately
underemployed, some of them have drifted
into near-poverty as a result of their obsession.
Read purely as sociology and psychology,
this book can be taken as an offbeat case
study in obsessive, manic, and/or compulsive
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