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Da Burds – A Tale of Birding, The Mob, and Redemption

da burds

By John W. Hartmann

An eBook available on Amazon for $.99

We don’t typically review novels, but this one is a little different, and totally fictitious.



Da Plot
The initiating event is one that has been used many times.  A gambler looses a big bet and is unable to pay his not-very-understanding bookie.  He is desperate to come up with the funds to save his kneecaps.

Da Twist
The Gambler, Preston Brooks, is a skilled birder with intimate knowledge of the World Series of Birding, held in New Jersey each year.

For those that may not know, the World Series of Birding is a real, annual, and very successful fund raising event supporting bird conservation.  Teams compete during a 24-hour period in an attempt to see the greatest number of species.

The event is judged on the honor system.  That is the key point that Preston hoped to exploit. Although one that bookie Tony “Screws” Cavalucci had a hard time accepting.

Da Plan

The plan, of course, was to rig the outcome of the event.  Tony was finally convinced the event was based on the honor system and called on his Vegas contacts to establish a betting line on the teams competing in the event.

A nervous Preston eventually pulls together a team of “wise guy” birders.  With a little help from Tony’s friends, and questionable tactics, the team does close in on a winning total of 175 species.

Da Outcome
We’ll leave it to the reader to discover if Preston and team were declared the winners.

The author is clearly an accomplished birder in real life.  He is familiar with the World Series of Birding and some of the key birding locations that teams visit during the real competition.

You will enjoy this novel if:
You are familiar with the event, the area and some of the teams obliquely referenced in the book and enjoy the inside knowledge.

You will enjoy this novel if:
You were a fan of Tony Soprano and wonder how his family would have succeeded as birders.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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