To students of history, Attu is the site of the second bloodiest Pacific theater engagement during World War II, but to birders it is, in the words of John Fitchen, the Holy Grail of North American birding. The westernmost Aleutian island, nearly 1,500 miles from the Alaskan mainland, Attu - largely because of its proximity to Asia and thus to Asian rarities - can claim more first and second ABA Checklist records than any other single birding location.
Attu:Birding on the Edge chronicles 25 years of birding Attu by the birders who traveled there on Larry Balch's Attours. When Charles Osgood went on one of the very last trips to Attu in the fall of 2000, he decided that this experience, shared by more than 1,000 people, was so special (some have likened it to a three-week summer camp for twitchers) that it deserved to be memorialized in word and picture for all those who took part in the original trips and to inspire those who might, in the future, work toward making such trips possible again.
The book is a miscellany, consisting of personal essays, historical narratives, poems, maps, photos, and an extensive, never-before-published annotated checklist provided by Larry Balch. Other contributors include such renowned birders as Paul Baicich, Paul Lehman, and Macklin Smith. Whether you want to re-live the Attu experience or learn more about bird distribution in North America, Attu: Birding on the Edge is an essential book.