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The Big Twitch

Sam Dooley

Australian book about a particularly obsessive type of male - the Twitcher, the most extreme bird watcher.

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This guy spent a year travelling round Australia trying to see 700 different species of bird. Since Aust only has 695 species, he had to be ready to travel, at the drop of the hat, to spot odd vagrants which arrived at far-flung corners of the country.

Came across an injured baby owl, took it to the local park ranger office. The ranger on duty looked totally bewildered. The author wrote in another book that he got the 'distinct impression that as soon as he'd left the ranger had taken the bird outside and dashed its brains out against a tree." Heard later from mutual friends that the ranger had come to them almost in tears, protesting that he loved animals and was horrified to be described like that. The friends asked him what he'd actually done with the bird. He paused, then admitted that he'd taken it outside and dashed its brains out against a tree.

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