As Heard on The Daily Gardener Podcast:
Life List by Olivia Gentile
The subtitle to this book is “A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds.”
This book is a loving and beautiful biography of bird enthusiast Phoebe Snetsinger. Phoebe was a 1950’s housewife, married with four children, and an avid bird-watcher. When she got diagnosed in her 40’s with incurable cancer and given less than a year to live, she started traveling the world, birding, and she never looked back. Phoebe ended up living, after her diagnosis, for another 18 years.
Oliva begins this book by explaining the concept of a life list:
“Bird-watching, the way most people do it, is a lot like hunting, which is why some practitioners prefer the more active sounding term “birding”: you have to know where and when to look for Birds, you have to chase them down, and, when you find them, you have to figure out what species they are— often in just a second or two, before they fly away. Tate, like most birders, kept a “ life list” of all the species he'd seen and identified, and he was always looking to add new ones, or “life birds.”
“I decided to write some sort of essay on bird watching, and I called a few bird clubs near my home in Manhattan to see what they had going on. One man misunderstood and thought I was interested in joining his Club. He tried to encourage me. “ Who knows?” he said. “ Maybe you'll be the next Phoebe Snetsinger.” the man had never met Phoebe, but he knew all about her— as most birdwatchers do, it turned out— and he told me a little. That was back in 2001, two years after her death, and I've been piecing together her life ever since.”
You can get a used copy of Life List by Olivia Gentile and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $3.
SI HORTUM IN HORTORUM PODCASTUM IN BIBLIOTEHCA HABES, NIHIL DEERIT.