The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered
by Michele Raffin


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Reviews:

“Michele Raffin has written a delightful account of her adventures caring for injured and abandoned birds. It is a good read, full of wonderful accounts of bird behavior, demonstrating caring, learning, sociability, adaptability, and a will to live. Its appeal is ageless, her descriptions riveting, and her devotion to the birds remarkable. I couldn't put it down for wanting to follow her adventures.”  —Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me: A Story of a Relationship

“Michele Raffin has made an important contribution to saving endangered birds and her book is a fascinating and rarely-seen glimpse behind the scenes. The joy she gets from her close relationships with these amazing animals and her outsized commitment to them comes through loud and clear in this engaging and joyful book.” —Dominick Dorsa, Curator of Birds, San Francisco Zoo

“A remarkable book. Reading about the birds of Pandemonium will make you laugh and cry; it will make you see more clearly the need to take care of our planet; and it will confirm that one person with a passion can make a difference.” —Jeff Corwin, nature conservationist and host, Animal Planet

The Birds of Pandemonium touched me deeply. Reading this wonderful book, one cannot help but realize how much intelligence and beauty there is throughout the bird world. The birds are Michele Raffin's teachers, awakening a deep sense of commitment to caring for our collective future. They help all of us see that now more than ever we are needed to play our role in caring for the natural world. This book is about reconnecting with the nature of birds, and the nature of ourselves.” —Jon Young, author of What the Robin Knows

“Charming, self-effacing and extremely reverent.” —The New York Times

“The Birds of Pandemonium, Raffin's memoir about her unexpected odyssey into aviculture, does for rare birds what Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief did for rare orchids, Joy Adamson's Born Free did for lions, and Jane Goodall did for chimpanzees and apes." —NPR

 

“The first thing to know about this book is that you don't have to be a species-counting birdwatcher or a professional naturalist to enjoy it. In fact, Michele Raffin's engaging account of living with and saving exotic endangered species has the power to enthrall and educate even the most resolute stay-at-home urbanites. The Birds of Pandemonium borrows part of its name from Pandemonium Aviaries, the bird conservation group that she founded and where she spends long hours observing, caring for and protecting dozens of endangered species. Her stories about the interactions of these unique winged creatures remind us that we are human and we are not alone.”  —Barnes and Noble

“Raffin, Avicultural Bulletin columnist and founder of the Pandemonium Aviaries bird sanctuary, describes the trajectory of her accidental career as a breeder of endangered species in this anecdotal, entertaining memoir. In 1996 a random encounter and subsequent rescue of a wounded dove on the Lawrence Highway led Raffin to Louis Brown, a local bird breeder, who took Raffin and her newfound avian interest under his wing. At the time, the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 had given rise to a surfeit of homeless doves and pigeons throughout the U.S. (in the words of the author, “From the late 1990s until around 2010, it was raining birds,”)—many of which Raffin went on to adopt. She recounts her experiences over the years providing shelter to a of variety birds, including a red-headed, potty-mouthed Amazon parrot called Amigo, a quail named Sweetie, and Harli and Peeki, a pair of gay lorikeets. Raffin’s passionate advocacy for birds is reminiscent of Jane Goodall’s support for great apes. The author emerges as a knowledgeable and, above all, endearing champion of animals, who practices what she preaches.”—Publishers Weekly

“A chance encounter with an injured dove proved to be a life-changing experience . . . By 2010, Pandemonium Aviaries, which had begun on a whim (fostering birds in need of a home), was a premier conservation-breeding operation playing an important global role in saving endangered species . . . A charming memoir about birds and the people who love them." —Kirkus Reviews

“Raffin has created a sanctuary for rare and endangered birds that completely surrounds her California home with professionally maintained aviaries to protect, preserve, and propagate more than 300 species. Her obsession with the birds’ survival is an inspiration, and her descriptions of the various birds’ behaviors and emotional lives are a delight. This extraordinary story of commitment, love, and devotion is an exemplary tale of perseverance, diligence, and heartfelt sacrifice on behalf of feathered creatures in desperate need of help.” —John Evans, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, CA (The November 2014 Indie Next List Preview)

“[A] lovely memoir-cum-how-to manual for starting an aviary from scratch . . . Learning from the birds, Raffin has made Pandemonium into a true sanctuary.” —Booklist

“Avian ‘personalities’ predominate in the book, but there are human angles, too, such as how Raffin manages the ups and downs of her demanding calling, the funny family dynamics as she wheedles yet one more bird into the menagerie, and the backstory exposing the secretive 'boys' club of bird breeders with which she contends. The book closes triumphantly with the birth of a rare green-naped pheasant pigeon chick, a notoriously difficult bird to breed in captivity . . . Raffin’s self-deprecating humor endears.” —Library Journal

There’s plenty to laugh about, cry about, and think about all through The Birds of Pandemonium. Recommended for readers who want to learn about birds, enjoy humor, or want to sit down with a well-written non-fiction book of any subject. —FanGirlNation

“It’s a rare and wonderful thing to find an endangered-animals book as infused with hope as this one. The birds that fall under Raffin’s care are luckier than all their brethren – one might almost say luckier than they realize, except that according to their doting caretaker, there’s precious little they don’t realize.” —Open Letters Monthly

“This is the perfect gift for any bird lover, and for anyone who cares about endangered animals, animal rescue, or most importantly how birds are faring in the wild. I have raised a few different types of birds over the years and read up on each species, but I learned more through reading Michele’s story than in any book or nature special I’ve come across. The Birds of Pandemonium is a visual delight and a joy to read.” 5 stars. —The ReadingRoom