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Flyaway: How A Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 3, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, March 3, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“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 )

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061563129
  • ASIN: B0031MA8YW
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,787,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As soon as I began reading `Flyaway', I got that warm fuzzy feeling signaling that I was in for the kind of read that makes me chomp at the bit to get under the covers with my reading light for an all-nighter. When we read the first few pages of any good book, the mind automatically connects us to similar material that gave us the same pleasurable feeling.
To compare Suzie Gilbert's `Flyaway' to James Herriot's `All Creatures Great and Small' is not a stretch. Here, once again, as in Herriot's wonderful peek into the rustic life of an English vet, we are treated to an insider's view of the sacrifices, lessons, and rewards of a family whose life revolves around a parent who is not only caretaker to her children, but to a constant parade of needy beings of other species. In Gilbert's case, the creatures are winged, wild, and ownerless--grackles, crows, robins, owls, hawks, and vultures. They limp through Gilbert's door to be healed and coached back into the wild again.
For those of us animal lovers who have the natural sympathies but lack the time, place, patience, and slightly mad passion to engage ourselves this deeply with the natural world, this book is a must-read. In it, I was constantly reminded that the price of love (any kind of love) is steep--and sometimes paradoxically and painfully akin to cruelty. We must learn to let go of what we love the most when it is best to do so for the object of our devotion and for our own sanity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a remarkable book! I am a retired teacher and I have spent the last 6 years volunteering at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center. It has become my avocation. I have taken a lot of classes to learn about rehabing and I am now the Songbird leader and the person who takes animals out to schools, etc. to do presentations. I could relate to a lot of Suzie's experiences. Her book gave me SO MUCH to think about; a great philosophy and many good reasons to become a rehaber. She makes you cry, laugh and truly feel what she is feeling. She shares her family and all their adventures with wildlife. She shows how important it is to let go once in a while to get some rest and retain your sanity after tending to so many birds in need 24-7. Suzie has a way with words in this very well written book. I did not want it to end. I hope she writes another book soon.

Nancy Haydock
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Format: Hardcover
Ever wonder what happens to birds that get injured? Well this book will tell you about all the people across the country that devout countless hours seeing that these birds are given the chance to survive. Through this very personal account of one persons quest as a bird rehabber you will travel along on that path. Be prepared to learn, in detail what happens to birds of all kinds when they end up at a persons home that cares for them. This book sails along with a style that is hard to describe, one minute you are getting a detailed description on the various chemicals that can kill birds, followed a few pages later with Suzie explaining what life altering experience she had as a 16 year old while in boarding school. I found myself laughing out load one minute and a few minutes later having tears run down my cheeks while reading this book. I guarantee that you will learn something about birds, but this is not a text book, it's a personnel life story that just happens to be associated with birds.

Jack Doyle
President, Audubon Society of Lincoln City
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Injured wild turkeys, hawks, grackles, crows and more - all make their way to Suzie Gilbert's home based bird rehabilitation center. She names them all and brings alive on the page the charm and individuality of each bird so that we come to care about them as she does. The book is well written and funny as well as informative. We get to know her family too - she shares her worries about what effect her demanding and time consuming commitment to the birds will have on her husband, and the two children she is raising along with her various avian patients. It's a book I rationed and eagerly picked up each day during the time I had allotted to it. I learned a great deal about birds by reading FLYAWAY and am grateful to Suzie Gilbert for writing it.
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Format: Hardcover
With its intimate descriptions of wild hawks, owls, crows, grackles, herons, geese, ducks, turkeys, pigeons, starlings and vultures (!) nurtured by the author, Flyaway will enthrall lovers of birds and other animals. But the book is also a riveting account of a woman's struggle to balance a grand obsession--fueled by fierce compassion and love--with the needs of her family. The book also addresses a profound question: How can you devote yourself to reducing suffering in the world, one creature at a time, when the suffering is essentially infinite in scope? This is an astonishing, beautifully written book, funny, heart-breaking and ultimately uplifting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book! It offered such great insight into the physical and emotional realities of rehabbing birds, as well as its effect on the family of the rehab volunteer. I read a chapter a day to savor her latest escapade with whatever bird landed at her door step. Having rehabbed a couple jays once in my life, I could relate on a very small scale to the amount of time and energy involved in such an endeavor. If you love the natural world and its inhabitants, you'll enjoy this book.
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