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A Bird Shall Carry The Voice

by Leigh Farris

This narrative of parallel human and avian lives moves through whimsy and tragedy to thoughtful observation backed by documented research. In a vividly told memoir, the author uses the unexpected introduction into her life of an aware and intelligent possessor of a "bird brain" to suggest how more humane behavior toward all animals can further the cause of a more peaceful planet.

The book opens in the humorous vein often associated with large talking birds. Humor gives way as Leigh Farris shares her deepening understanding of the feelings and mentality of another species. Yet this true story, written for adults -- young, old, or in-between -- isn't only about birds and other animals. Concern for the fate of Max (who is later renamed for good reason!), is linked to the fate of a much-decorated Air Force officer whose experiences in Vietnam have determined his fate as well as that of his avian protege. From the inescapable legacy of twentieth-century wars inherited by all human beings, we realize ever more fully the unbreakable ties that link together all creatures and events on earth.

New ways of thinking are awakened by the unexpected encounter with a lively cockatoo, a species that has been called "flying primates." A disarmingly complex personality is unveiled as an understanding of Max's avian perceptions gradually develops through trial and error. The author strikes a rich vein of supporting evidence for crediting such a seemingly insignificant creature with deeper awareness as well as what is commonly called intelligence. A Bird Shall Carry the Voice reveals the illogic of viewing some animals as lovable individuals and others simply as factory-produced food or mechanical objects for experimentation. We are led to a realm of heightened awareness by the often ignored commonalities shared with all species, in particular by "that which hath wings."

As the lives of this story's characters unfold, from the Far East to California, Middle America, the Deep South, and finally Hawaii, the author suggests less egocentrical human attitudes that must prevail in order to ensure a sustainable Earth and better life for all beings.

About the Author
Leigh Farris has devoted many years to promoting greater awareness of animal and environmental concerns, and has contributed to a variety of publications on their behalf. In A Bird Shall Carry the Voice she espouses Albert Schweitzer's concept of Reverence for Life as the clearest non-sectarian guide for the ethical issues that confront all human beings. Much of this background figures in her true account of living with one of the most aware and intelligent species of birds on earth. As her memoir develops, ways to reconcile rancorous and divisive points of view on the issues of Reverence for which Life can be found in Leigh's study of this vital topic.

So enveloping an experience was that which she recounts in this, her first full-length book to be published, that Leigh has also authored a fictional counterpart of the same story. In it she reconstructs the natural lives of Bikkia and Hantu Raya as endemic birds in their own little-known part of the natural world formerly known as the Spice Islands.

In addition to writing on behalf of a more humane world for all beings, she has enjoyed singing operatic roles, which was her intended occupation when she met and married a university professor. Her natural inclination is "right-brained toward the arts," as she likes to say, "but not right-winged"! A book of some of her poems will soon be published. Of these various fields of endeavor, the most ineradicable impression was made from her longtime caretaking of one of the most lovable species of avifauna on Planet Earth, kakatoe moluccensis, the Moluccan cockatoo. Her musical efforts now concentrate on sending the voice of the birds far and wide. Leigh and her husband are back in San Diego after ten years in Georgia and nearly fourteen in Hawaii.


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