Google Doodle-The Life of Phoebe Snetsinger

Today’s Google Doodle honors the life of Phoebe Snetsinger.


From CNet by Michelle Starr:

Passionate and dedicated birder Phoebe Snetsinger, born in 1931, remains one of the world’s most prolific. At the time of her death, in 1999, she had seen 8,398 species of the estimated 10,000 known species in the world, more than anyone else in history at the time. On June 9, 2016, she would have been 85, and Google is remembering her life with a special Doodle. She lived 18 more years after her diagnosis, and died in a bus crash, not from her cancer.

Snetsinger’s interest in birds was piqued in 1965, when she spotted a Blackburnian Warbler, but she didn’t become truly dedicated until 1981, when, at the age of 50, she was diagnosed with terminal melanoma, with just one year to live. Rather than spend that time at home, Snetsinger took herself to Alaska to search for birds. When she returned home, she found her cancer was in remission. Using money inherited from her father, advertising magnate Leo Burnett, Snetsinger devoted her life to traveling the globe looking for birds, taking copious notes that helped reclassify subspecies as species. When she visited Kenya, she saw over 500 birds in just three weeks.

The Google Doodle includes five birds significant to Snetsinger: the blackburnian warbler, the red-shouldered vanga (the last bird she ever documented), the village weaverbird, the eastern bluebird and the red-capped manakin. Her adventures are documented in her memoir, “Birding on Borrowed Time.”

You can read more about her here.

A fascinating woman whose life was changed by her diagnosis, which then changed her outlook and life by moving forward from it.


21 thoughts on “Google Doodle-The Life of Phoebe Snetsinger

  1. It is great when someone chooses to dedicate themselves to a fine endeavor and manages to accomplish so much, Lisa. I appreciate your featuring this Google art tribute to Phoebe Snetsinger. I love going to see the online Google exhibits and tributes~ such creative pieces of art. 🙂


  2. Lisa–I know this post was mainly on the birds, but you had me at ‘terminal melanoma’–and she lived for 18 years after her diagnosis?! God bless!! I want that to be me.
    But about birds…have you seen that movie about birdwatchers with Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin. It is really funny and really good. My son let us borrow his copy and we loved it. I think you might enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was told that if I had been diagnosed even 3 years earlier, my outlook would have been pretty bleak, so for her that had to be a huge blow. And only 50 years old. This was a great post, and thanks so much for thinking of me. I hope you like the movie–it is called “The Big Year.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting! I never take the time to click on Google’s Doodles. Perhaps that should change! My husband and I were just remarking the other day how suddenly we’re starting to see the fascination of bird watching — ever since we moved to a place with a bird feeder and they come! LOL! The variety and the beauty are such a big draw! Thanks for sharing this! 🙂


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