Kenn Kaufman is an American author, artist, naturalist, and conservationist, known for his work on several popular field guides of birds and butterflies in North America. Born in South Bend, Indiana, Kaufman started birding from the age of six. When he was nine, his family moved to Wichita, Kansas, where his fascination with birds intensified. At age sixteen, inspired by birding pioneers such as Roger Tory Peterson, he dropped out of high school and began hitchhiking around North America in pursuit of birds. Three years later, in 1973, he nearly set the record for the most North American bird species seen in one year while participating in a Big Year, a year-long birding competition. However, this record included regions like Baja California that are no longer ornithologically considered part of North America and has since been surpassed. His cross-country birding journey, covering some eighty thousand miles, was eventually recorded in a memoir, Kingbird Highway.