In the vein of The Big Year, A Supremely Bad Idea talks about birders trying to see many different birds within the scope of a year. The birders here are not trying to shatter any records but they still take their birding seriously. From humble beginnings watching birds in Central Park in New York the author embarks on a series of trips with a supposedly real couple of originals who have vastly more experience than he does with birding but lack an important skill: driving. The husband also seems to lack either short-term memory or tact and incessantly rehashes the very boring topic of why Dempsey does not care for tomatoes, except for a few exceptions. Those car rides must have been very long indeed, and we get many replays of essentially the same conversation.
There’s much adventure apart from the thrill of catching (seeing, that is) rare birds, including a drug deal on the Mexico-US border, assorted bird fanatics, assorted bird idiots, idiotic bird tour group leaders, and wonderful hosts who go to great lengths to welcome birders on their properties. The author seems to be easily brought to ire by various objectionable behaviors that range from truly obnoxious to unremarkable, and further seems completely comfortable berating people on loudly and publicly, and in writing too, which gets rather uncomfortable. There’s no need to be so self-righteous or so mean.
Overall, an interesting view at the world of birders. I rather preferred The Big Year.