After graduating from their post-secondary institution of choice, some young people might take off for Europe or South East Asia to find themselves.
The Okanagan-raised Russell Cannings also took a year off after collecting his history and English degree from UBC Okanagan and travelled, but he didn't go that far from home.
Instead, in 2010 Cannings pushed his love of birding to the extreme and embarked on a province-wide tour attempting to catalogue as many avian species as possible.
The result of that year is a new book, Birdfinding in British Columbia, which Cannings describes as a "Lonely Planet, if you will, for birdwatchers."
On Thursday evening, Cannings will be speaking about his big year, birdwatching and environmental implications as well as signing copies of the book at Exploration Place, beginning at 7 p.m.
Birdwatchers come from all walks of life and with various levels of intensity, said Cannings, from "casual pigeon ladies to the hardcore rarity chaser with the thousands of dollars of optics."
But even the most intermittent birdwatcher can have an effect, he said.
"Even fairly casual birders can actually really help out by volunteering for various projects like the Backyard Bird Counts and Christmas bird counts," said Cannings. "And all that sort of stuff can really make a difference on a continent-wide scale and our understanding of the birds which goes a long way in understanding the health of the environment and all that."
At the age of 26, Cannings represents the disintegrating stereotype that follows the title of birdwatcher.
He said the birding profile is increasing, thanks to things such as a 2011 movie starring Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin called The Big Year about a bird-spotting competition.
"Little things like that coming out, it sort of shines a different light on birding," Cannings said. "It's not all 65 year olds with hiked-up khaki shorts. So it really is for everybody."
Cannings came by his bird-watching obsession honestly, with a heavy influence from father Richard Cannings an experienced naturalist-biologist working for Bird Studies Canada as the national co-ordinator for Christmas birdcounts, e-bird and the Nocturnal Owl Survey.
Richard, the author or contributor to more than 10 bird-related books and a regular contributor to CBC, collaborated on the new book with his son.
"Just want to talk about some of the cool birds that are in B.C. and some of the neat places around B.C., especially some of the ones that people might not even know about that are just waiting to be explored," said Cannings.