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The Wild Birds

Emily Strelow

February 26, 2020

An orphaned young woman disguises herself as a boy in order to escape the dangers of being alone in 1870’s San Francisco. A group of castoffs destroy the bird population of the Farallon Island by stealing and selling their eggs. A young woman raped in the 1980’s struggles to raise her daughter on her own while her unattached best friend becomes a field researcher for the government, counting and monitoring bird populations across the west. The daughter runs away to seek her own path and learns something about her mother, and a wanderer escapes his privileged life to seek his destiny. Everything in this novel is connected to wild birds, the geography of the west, and friendship. And the characters are all tied together by a rare collection of bird eggs. 

Emily Strelow was born and raised in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, has lived all over the West, and is back living in Portland. For the last decade she’s combined teaching writing with doing seasonal avian field biology with her husband. While doing field jobs, she’s camped and written in remote areas of the desert, mountains and by the ocean. She is a mother to two boys, a naturalist, a writer, and cultivator of sourdough cultures with which she loves baking. The Wild Birds (Rare Bird Books, 2018), her first novel, was a finalist for the Foreword Indies Award for Best Fiction and for the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction. It is now available in all formats, and a second book is in the works.

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