Books

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Birdology

Birds are the wild animals we see every day, but we fail to appreciate who or what birds are. If we did, we would be awestruck—as is the author throughout these seven adventures exploring what makes a bird a bird. Sy works with a bird rehabilitator to raise orphaned baby hummingbirds, travels to the Australian tropics in search of a living dinosaur, rocks out with a dancing cockatoo and more, reawakening a sense of awe in the presence of creatures at once so breathtakingly similar to us, and yet so startlingly strange.

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The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood

Christopher Hogwood came home on Sy’s lap in a shoebox, with a touch of every disease in the barn: the runt piglet was so sick that nobody expected him to last the night. But he grew into a beloved town character, a 750-pound Buddha master adored by adults and children alike. He grew to command a vast slops empire that extended beyond the small town of Hancock, NH. His fan club crossed oceans. His story proves that a family isn’t made of genes, but love, and that a great soul can come at any time, in any form—even with a flexible nose disk and curly tail.

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Search for the Golden Moon Bear: Science and Adventure in Pursuit of a New Species

Only eight bear species are known to science, but from a scientific colleague Sy hears of what could be a new one: a Southeast Asian bear with a mane like a lion, a white crescent on the chest and a luminous golden coat. Documenting the existence of this unknown bear, the author and scientific colleague Dr. Gary Galbreath travel through the warn-torn jungles of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. This is a tale of hope and horror and sometimes hilarity, a report from the frontiers of science and the fullness of the human heart.

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Search for the Golden Moon Bear: Science and Adventure in Pursuit of a New Species CD set

The entire, unabridged text, read by the author, with a Scientific Addendum read by Dr. Gary Galbreath. Only available through The Toadstool Bookshop, Sy’s local bookseller.

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Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest

Scientists call them Inia geoffrensis, an ancient species of whale whose origin dates back about 15 million years. To the local people of the Amazon, pink river dolphins are “boto,” shape-shifters who, in the guise of human desire, can claim your soul and take you to the Encante, the enchanted world beneath the river. Scientists know little of about the pink dolphins when Sy begins her quest, so she follows them to discover their secrets. On four expeditions to Brazil and Peru, they lead her through myths and legend, back in evolutionary time, deep into the spirit world, and forward to the future of the Amazon.

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Spell of the Tiger: The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans

The largest mangrove forest on Earth hosts the world’s densest population of tigers—tigers like no others. Healthy tigers elsewhere almost never attack humans. But here, at the mist-shrouded boundary of forest and ocean, tigers swim out after boats, leap on board, and seize men in their mouths. It happens 300 times a year. In her extensive travels through the tiger swamps of West Bengal and Bangladesh, Sy pursues dual mysteries: why do the tigers of Sundarbans hunt people? Why don’t the local people hurt the tigers?

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Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas

Three remarkable, intrepid women changed forever the way people understand animals’ lives. Jane Goodall, working with the chimpanzees of Gombe, Dian Fossey, studying mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and Birute Galdikas, living among the orangutans of Borneo, devoted their lives to understanding humankind’s closest relatives and revolutionized ethology, the scientific study of animal behavior. To research the only triple biography ever of this unique scientific sisterhood Sy traveled to Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania and Indonesian Borneo and lived for a time among the great apes, walking in the footsteps her childhood heroines.

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The Curious Naturalist: Nature’s Everyday Mysteries

Outside your window, in your backyard, or in your local beach or park, on city streets or even inside your house, plants and animals are doing something wholly unexpected and incredibly interesting. Houseflies are washing their eyes with their hands. Porcupines dance. Worms are making love in the wet, green grass while spiders are weaving messages into their webs. Sy’s first collection of Nature Journal columns from The Boston Globe, with a generous foreword by the late great Roger Tory Peterson, will make you appreciate the ordinary miracles unfolding around us every day.

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The Wild Out Your Window: Exploring Nature Near at Hand

Beneath your porch, creatures with their skeletons on their outsides and their ears on their knees are singing with their wings. In your backyard, songbirds may be murdering mice, while on your lawn a battle rages between exotic and native species. This second collection of Sy’s Globe columns further explores the natural dramas unfolding before us, from the crevices where bugs hide in winter the world between grains of beach sand.

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