— [http://goo.gl/Klt5ip] Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds: A fascinating portrait by Olivia Gentile of a hobbiest whose obsession contributed to both her success and her demise,_______________________Life List brings Phoebe Snetsinger and the wild world of amatuer ornithology to vivid life.
She was the daughter of advertising magnate Leo Burnett, the advertising executive who created Tony the Tiger, the Marlboro Man & the Maytag Repairman.
Stensinger’s interest in birding, and seeing as many species as possible, intensified when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, melanoma, in 1981, at the age of 50, according to the New York Times.
She was living in Minnesota at the time and was taken on a birding trip by a friend, Olivia Gentile, who wrote a biography of Snetsinger, Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds.
After her four kids were nearly grown and she was about to turn 50, Phoebe Snetsinger was told she had less than a year to live. Snetsinger, a St. Louis housewife and avid backyard birder, decided to spend that year traveling the world in search of birds. As it turned out, her doctors were wrong, but Phoebe's passion had been ignited and she spent the next eighteen years crisscrossing the globe recklessly staking out her quarry. En route she contracted malaria in Zambia, nearly fell to her death in Zaire, and was kidnapped and gang raped on the outskirts of Port Moresby. Yet none of this curbed her enthusiasm. By the time she died in a bus accident while birding in Madagascar in 1999, Phoebe was world renowned and had seen more species-8,500 of the roughly 10,000-than anyone in history.
Phoebe Snetsinger said she was blown away by the bird’s beauty and became obssessed with birding.
"Phoebe wasn’t meant to be a housewife," Gentile said. "What happens when society pushes you into a role you aren’t meant to play? (Gentile 2009, pag. 9)."
One of the last birds she saw was the small and stocky red-shouldered vanga in Madagascar.
She was travelling to another birding site when the van she was in flipped, killing her instantly. She died on November 18, 1999. She was 68.
Google's animation features Phoebe Snetsinger watching several birds, including the blackburnian warbler [setophaga fusca], which sparked her passion, and the red-shouldered vanga [calicalicus rufocarpalis].
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"Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds," by Olivia Gentile, a biography of Phoebe Snetsinger, 2009, PDF ::
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•  Gentile, Olivia. Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009.
•  Snetsinger, Phoebe, and H. Douglas Pratt. Birding on borrowed time. American Birding Association, 2003.