Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



“Book Review” [of Wild Birding Colorado: The Big Year of 2010] from Nebraska Bird Review (March 2011) 79(1).


Copyright 2011 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


Nebraska birders might remember seeing reports posted to NEBirds a few years back by Cole Wild, a native Coloradan whose mother's family is from Nebraska. Cole took up birding at age 19, spurred by an earlier high school environmental science class that required identification of 100 species of birds. As with many of us, a brightly plumaged bird, in this case a Western Tanager, resulted in "the birdwatching gene" in Cole suddenly being "switched to the ON position." Soon after, Cole went on a "what the heck, I'll try it" field trip to see a Kelp Gull at Loveland Reservoir in November 2003, even though he had little idea what a Kelp Gull was and didn't know any Colorado birders. Several of Colorado's top birders were on the field trip, and later that day asked Cole to join them for additional birding, with the result that Cole was hooked.

After a few years of being mentored by other top Colorado birders, Cole felt that by 2010 he was up to a Colorado Big Year and an attempt to break the record of 391 set by Andrew Spencer. His decision was helped by his rather boring job as a lab technician and the difficulty of finding a girlfriend interested in birds, a familiar complaint among young male birders! This book is Cole's account of his 2010 Big Year, which turned out to be a great success, with 412 species counted.