June 9, 2016
Phoebe Snetsinger’s 85th birthday
The rough animation for the doodle, featuring (left to right) the blackburnian warbler, red-shouldered vanga, village weaverbird, eastern bluebird, and red-capped manakin.
Sometimes it takes dire circumstances to compel us toward action. Phoebe Snetsinger, who would have been 85 years old today, became the world’s most prolific bird-watcher — a feat she achieved by surmounting tremendous odds.
It wasn’t until 1981 — when she was diagnosed with cancer — that Phoebe truly came into her own as a birder. In subsequent years, she scoured the globe for obscure or unknown bird species, ultimately raising her bird count to 8,393, the highest in the world at the time. Some of the notable birds she sighted include the Blackburnian Warbler and the Red-Shouldered Vanga, depicted among many other interesting birds by animator Juliana Chen.
Alternate concepts for the doodle, featuring a portrait and bird nests.
Today, we celebrate the courage of Ms. Snetsigner, and the beauty of life — however hidden it may be.
Sketches of birds both featured and considered for the doodle.
Happy birthday Phoebe!