Of definite appeal to amateur ornithologists, this account of a brown thrasher whose band and broken wing kept him under the author's observation into the bird's 11th year. It is, for the general reader, also the story of the Arkansas hills, the changing seasons, the great summer droughts, and of the author and her newspaper editor husband, whose approaching death identified itself with Crip's ability to survive and be a constant in their lives. From diaries the record of avian life cycles -- the return in the spring, courting, nest building and the raising of several broods of young -- is backgrounded by the dogs around the place, the goats they kept and the gardens they grew and by Crip's own career with various mates, his rival male thrashers and with all sorts of enemies -- weather, cats, dogs, snakes. Crip was never a pet, never caged, and the grief of her husband's death was tempered by the old bird's need for her care for his feeding, and, when he died, she was truly freed from her hillside. A book of great warmth and of natural beauty -- and of real sentiment -- for that special customer.