The Bottom Line
Flyaway is a superb read not only for bird lovers, but also for any would-be wildlife or bird rehabilitators. With clever anecdotes of both the good and the bad of rehabbing, this book shares a detailed picture of the lives of not only birds, but also those who help them.
- Excellently balanced view of both the pros and cons of bird rehabilitation.
- Filled with unique details of birds’ behavior and personalities that no field guide can show.
- Lifelike sketches by Laura Westlake add stunning visuals.
- Epilogue offers suggestions for taking action to help birds and wildlife rehabilitators.
- Lacks any update on Gilbert’s current or future plans to be involved with bird rehabilitation.
- Title: Flyaway: How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings
- Author: Suzie Gilbert
- Publisher: Harpercollins
- Publication Date: March 2009
- Format: Hardcover
- Page Count: 340
- ISBN: 978-0-06-156312-6
- Price: $25.99
Guide Review - Book Review: Flyaway
“When are you going to get that gull out of the bathroom?”
Flyaway: How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings had me hooked as soon as I flipped through random pages and stumbled on that sentence. This book offers a wonderful look at what is often the forgotten side of bird conservation: what it’s like for those selfless, compassionate individuals who take in injured and orphaned birds to give them a second chance at freedom. It takes a community to rehabilitate a bird, and Suzie Gilbert gives readers a precious glimpse of being a member of that community.
Gilbert has always had a passion for birds and helping animals, so it was a natural step for her to become a bird rehabilitator. Little did she know how physically and emotionally exhausting the task would become. “At times my learning curve was so steep it felt almost vertical,” she said. Flyaway is filled with fascinating vignettes that highlight the personalities and quirks of different birds, though some scenes of injured birds and hopeless cases may be distressing for sensitive readers.
Through her emotional writing and captivating scenes, Gilbert brings readers along on the journey of saving birds and letting them go when they can’t be saved. To her, the credo of a rehabilitator is simple, even though it never feels that way. “Bring them back, then let them go. But there are different ways of letting go.”