How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings
By Suzie Gilbert
(HarperLuxe, Paperback, Large Print, 9780061720093, 496pp.)
Publication Date: March 2009
In this captivating memoir, Suzie Gilbert tells the rollicking story of how she turned her family life upside down to pursue her unusual passion for rehabilitating wild birds.
Through adolescence and into adulthood, Suzie Gilbert struggled to find her calling. But when she took a job working at the animal hospital near her home in New York's Hudson Valley, her passion was born. She began bringing abused and unwanted parrots home and volunteering at a local raptor rehabilitation center, activities she continued for the next eleven years, even as she started a family. Then came the ultimate commitment to her cause: turning her home into Flyaway, Inc., a nonprofit wild bird rehabilitation center.
Gilbert chronicles the years of her chaotic household-cum-bird-hospital with delightful wit, recounting the confusion that ensued as her husband and two young children struggled to live in a house where parrots shrieked Motown songs, nestling robins required food every twenty minutes, and recuperating herons took over the spare bathroom. Gradually, however, the birds came to represent the value of compassion and the importance of pursuing even the most unlikely of dreams.
Often funny, sometimes painful, Gilbert's encounters with these beautiful creatures reveal profound truths not only about animals but also about our own lives—lessons of birth and death, suffering and empathy, holding on and letting go.
Original, lyrical, and highly entertaining, Flyaway will forever change the way you see this amazing member of the animal kingdom.
Suzie Gilbert lives in New York State's Hudson Valley, where she launched Flyaway, Inc., in 2002. She is also the author of the children's book Hawk Hill.
- The author bounced from place to place and job until she was in her early thirties, when she took a job at a Hudson Valley animal hospital. She was immediately drawn to injured and abused birds, and an all-consuming passion was born. Have your interests and passions changed during your life? Have you ever found a cause that changed your life?
“Charms, delights, and educates while providing a fascinating tale of love and devotion to the feathered creatures that share our increasingly crowded world.”
-Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me
“Unique and engaging . . . [Gilbert] shows reveals in elegant prose how every creature has value, and how a voice for one is voice for all.”
-Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds
“Fascinating . . . . A testament to the challenges we all face when we love another being.”
-Stacey O'Brien, author of Wesley the Owl
“Readers will acquire education plenty from Gilbert’s discussions of the creatures she encounters and the challenges rehabbers face.”
“Gilbert’s prose reads easily, ushered along by her clear, knowledgeable explanations of biology, medicine, natural history, nutrition, and animal behavior. . . . Strongly recommended.”
-Henry T. Armistead, Library Journal
“Funny and insightful. . . . Most of us see birds through binoculars and windows. Suzie Gilbert has entered their lives.”
-Carl Zimmer, author of Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life and Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea