Five Things You Didn’t Know about Phoebe Snetsinger

Phoebe Snetsinger is an American birder that is best known for being the first person to see more than 8000 different species of birds. At the time of her death she had documented 8393 different species which was the most that anyone had ever seen at the time. Here are some more interesting facts about Phoebe Snetsinger that you may not know.

She Met Her Future Husband When She Was Eleven

She met David Snetsinger when she was eleven and he was thirteen. They were both members of their local 4-H group. They married after college and after David had carried out his military service in Korea. The couple were married until her death and had four children together.

She Is The Daughter Of Leo Burnett

Her father is Leo Burnett who was very well known in the world of advertising. He created some of the best known characters in advertising such as Tony the Tiger and the Marlboro Man. He founded the Leo Burnett Company which is still in existence today and has more than 9000 employees worldwide. It is said that many of the traits that Phoebe had which made her such a successful birder such as determination and focus came from her father.

She Began Birding Seriously After A Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

Although she had been involved in birding locally for many years she did not start traveling abroad until she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live. Instead of receiving treatment she decided to spend what time she had left doing what she loved and so headed to Alaska to do some birding. When she returned from Alaska she found that the cancer had gone into remission. Her cancer would return every five years or so before going into remission again. She died eighteen years after her diagnosis but she was killed in a road accident in Madagascar and not by the cancer.

She Would Travel The World For At Least Four Months Every Year

During her later life she would spend at least four months of the year traveling abroad. She had inherited a substantial amount of money from her father and this gave her the freedom to travel as often as she wished. She travelled to many countries all over the world and some of these were not always safe but it did not deter her. She is said to have missed her mother’s funeral and her daughter’s wedding because she was out of the country birding at the time.

Google Posted A Doodle To Commemorate Her 85th Birthday

On the day that she would have turned 85 a special Google Doodle was used to celebrate her life. The doodle showed birds in the branches of a tree that were drawn so that they would spell out the word Google. There was also a cartoon image of Phoebe looking through binoculars and making notes in her book. The image included some of the most notable birds that she had sighted such as the Blackburnian Warbler.


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