WHAS Book Reviews

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Book Review: Jeff Guidry's "An Eagle Named Freedom"

CoverAn Eagle Named Freedom, Jeff Guidry, William Marrow, 2010.

When a young eagle, drastically injured with both wings broken, arrived at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in northern WA state,  volunteer,Jeff  Guidry, was assigned to her care and keeping.  Over the weeks of rehabilitation, the two of them developed a strong bond and Jeff gave her the name, "Freedom."   As fate would have it, she was not able to fly again, and so she continued to live at the center, and she and Jeff became a team, working together on wildlife educational projects with schools and other organizations.

Guidry and Freedom came to trust and rely on each other in a deep and surprising relationship.  After Freedom's recovery and the two of them had been working together for some time, Jeff was diagnosed with cancer.  As he fought the disease, he continued to visit and work with Freedom.  The relationship gave him courage and comfort, " In trusting that Freedom and I would have a long time together, I'd found the advantage -call it an edge-that I needed beyond even extraordinary human support.  Freedom and I were balanced on that edge."

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Book Review: Jack Nesbit's "The Collector"

Jack Nesbit Sasquatch Books, 2009.

If you are a hiker, canoe enthusiast, mountain climber, or wannabe naturalist, this is the book for you.  “The Collector”, David Douglas, spent three years from 1825 to 1828 tromping through forests, slogging marshes, crossing desserts, climbing mountains, and paddling rivers.  He traveled 7000 miles throughout the Northwest.  By researching the Douglas journals, author, Jack Nesbit, is able to share colorful descriptions of these adventures.  We find Douglas worked for science as well as for profit.  We get a clear picture of his meticulous collecting of flora and fauna for scientific study, his taking of copious notes, and his search for plant specimens suitable for English Gardens and for the economic timber interests in Europe. (Think: Douglas Fir)

Nesbit does an excellent job of taking you on the trail with Douglas.  You can feel his pain as he hikes the mountains, collects and dries (and redries) plants, swims icy rivers, and you observe his growing respect as he negotiates with indigenous people.

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Book Review: Mind of the Raven

By Carolyn Norred

Hiking Portland’s Forest Park Wildwood Trail with a couple of friends recently, we stopped off at the Portland Audubon center.  There we met Aristophanes, an eighteen-month-old raven who had been raised in captivity and now lived under the care of the Audubon volunteers.  Big, beautiful, and bold, he sat on his keeper’s gloved arm and pulled at the folds of her sleeve as we talked.  Each time he lightly tugged at her shirtsleeve, she used her bare finger to tap the underside of his most impressive beak, and he would quit for a moment, and then begin again.  She explained that he knew he wasn’t supposed to be doing what he was doing, but he wanted her full attention.

I had just finished enjoying Bernd Heinrich’s Mind of the Raven, (Harper, 1999) and I couldn’t help notice how delicate and vulnerable that bare finger looked beside the powerful beak. Heinrich lists some of the uses of the raven’s bill:  offense, defense, shoveling, picking, cutting, gripping, ripping, prying, crushing, holding, caressing, combing, and breaking limbs.…

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