Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A fun new bird book!

I just finished reading “Flyaway,” by Suzie Gilbert, and I loved it! “Flyaway” is a book about birds, a bird rehabber, and the adventures she and her family go through as she builds Flyaway, Inc., a non-profit bird rehabilitation organization.

Suzie steps us through the evolution of a dream, sharing stories of the love, work, doubt, fears, and sacrifice that go into caring for wild creatures. Her stories are fun and quickly pull the reader in. I can only imagine what those early days were like in her house as she cared for the birds in her bathroom, kitchen…bedroom…get the picture? At one point, while housing an injured Great Blue Heron in her bathroom, her husband remarks “Have you noticed,” he whispered, “that it smells like Sea World in here?” Comic relief comes in quick quips like that, as well as hysterically funny situations, but unfortunately, not all of the stories have a happy ending because not all the birds can be saved—and parting with those who have recovered isn’t easy either. Be prepared to grab a tissue when George (a crow you will fall in love with) says goodbye to Suzie and flies away into the wild.

Years and years ago, while I was still in college, I worked as an Animal Health Technician in a veterinary office, so I immediately identified with lots of Suzie’s stories. I’ve restrained injured ducks and geese, taken radiographs of broken bones, and debrided necrotic tissue and days-old lacerations crawling maggots, but I was always on the other side of the table. I wasn’t the one going home with an injured bird to feed and watch over 24 hours a day. Suzie shows us what it’s like to totally give oneself over to the care of birds no one else will care for. In this passage, Suzie quickly paints a picture of what it’s like when you become an orphaned baby songbird's mama:
“Tiny, delicate, and insatiably hungry, baby songbirds are food-processing machines. When they’re hatchlings (just born) and young nestlings (older but still unfeathered), they need to be fed every fifteen to twenty minutes from sunup to sundown. Then they knock off for the night, giving whatever exhausted creature is caring for them—be it avian or human—a little time to collapse before work resumes at daybreak.

When the babies’ pinfeathers start coming in the feedings can be moved up to every half hour, then the time between feedings can be slowly increased in increments of five minutes. When they’re around around 2 ½ weeks old, their feathers have opened and they’re out of the nest and perching, and you’re practically on vacation—feeding them only once an hour.”
We all have a role to play in the quest to save the planet and its wildlife. Susie has found her place. By rehabbing one bird at a time, she is working to preserve and protect wildlife. I like Suzie's belief in the individual, and her conviction that every bird has value:
“If we’re talking about the greatest return for one’s effort, then never mind the baby birds – why rehab wildlife at all?
Exactly, critics say; rehabbers are nothing but a bunch of bunny-huggers wasting their time. Populations are what count, not individuals. It’s not worth the effort.
First, when any potential critic looks down on me from his lofty position and deigns to grade my effort, I tend to ignore (or mock) him out of principle. But this is an argument easily won. Although wildlife rehabilitation begins with the individual, there is a ripple effect that extends far beyond the single animal. If critics of wildlife rehabilitation are looking for numbers, they will find them not in the release rates of a single rehabilitator but in the numbers of people who have been reached and educated because of her (or him)."
...and there's more! You know how I love bird art... The book is illustrated with beautiful drawings by Laura Westlake. I love her soft style. She really captures personalities in each of her illustrations.


If you'd like to learn more about Suzie Gilbert and Flyaway, Inc., click here for Suzie's Website. You can buy the book on the Website or purchase it on Amazon. You can also make a donation to help support Flyaway, Inc. on the Website.

I learned about Flyaway through TLC Book Tours. There is always something good to read posted there!

25 comments:

DK Miller said...

It sounds lovely!

Laure Ferlita said...

What incredible dedication it must take to rehabbing ALL THE TIME! Thanks for sharing the review -I'm going to look for the book now.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

I'm going to put Suzie's book on my to read list. It sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing.

Diane said...

I'll read it, too! thanks, kelly!

Montanagirl said...

What an interesting post! It's nice there are people like her in this world. Perhaps we need more of them...

Warren Baker said...

People like Suzie are the real heroes in this world. Good on her!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What a neat lady.... Can't believe that she rehabs those poor little guys ALL of the time.. That is truly dedication..

I can see how you can relate, Kelly, since you worked in a similar situation once.

Neat book... I'll check into it.
Hugs,
Betsy

holdingmoments said...

Excellent review Kelly. Sounds like one for the shelf; just had a look on Amazon here. Bookmarked! :)

Chris said...

I totally agrre with her but not only for bird. Every single living has a role on earth and should be taking care of...

trish said...

Your review gave me chills! And I can't wait to read about George! I can't believe anyone would mock efforts to save one bird at a time. But I guess that's why someone has to make these efforts, because sadly not everyone thinks this is important.

Thanks for being on this tour!

Cherrie said...

Very interesting, thank you for letting us know about this!

Abraham said...

Sounds like a winner to me. I will have to see if the library has it here.

Enjoy this day. It was your future yesterday.

Wanda said...

Thanks Kelly!
♥...Wanda

Sarah Knight said...

sounds like a great book
: )

RuthieJ said...

I just picked up this book from my local public library yesterday! Haven't started reading it yet, but did also notice how beautiful the illustrations are.

Shelley said...

I'm so glad you told us about this book! I am definitely going to pick it up (you know - me being a bird lover and all - ha,ha!) Thanks for reviewing this - it sounds like a wonderful read.

Tina said...

Sounds like a book I shall put on my summer reading list. Thanks for the suggestion!!

黃政弘 said...

good post................................................

Allison said...

I worked for three years when I was in high school for our local vet. He had an office and we also did farm calls. This books sounds lovely! And that illustration on the cover is tremendous! Maybe you'll be illustrating a book someday!

oldcrow61 said...

Sounds like a great read.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I'm glad you posted this--I'm almost ready for a new book. I just got accepted to a vet tech program, and this sounds like a read I'd enjoy.

Kelly said...

Cool...thanks, everyone for the comments. If you are into animal care, you will love this book, no doubt about it. I do have to admit, I felt a bit like a slacker by the time I was a quarter way through........taking care of baby and injured birds is hard!! I don't know if I would be able to keep the work pace up all spring and summer....

Kelly said...

Adrienne...you will love being a Vet Tech. My first degree was in Animal Health Technology. I learned so much and have such a huge store of knowledge...

Kerri said...

Great review! I LOVED this book too :)

birdspazz said...

How funny! I just saw the comment that you left me regarding this book, but I had read your review earlier. It looks great! I want to read it soon.