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The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birdsby Julie Zickefoose
Synopses & Reviews
Advance praise for The Bluebird Effect
"It is hard to describe all the things that are beautiful about this book. Its beautifully conceived, beautifully written, and beautifully illustrated. Zickefooses knowledge of birds is profound, her observations of them are fascinating, and her accounts of them are trustworthy. To be informed and delighted at the same time is a rare experience, thus The Bluebird Effect is the perfect Christmas present, thank you present, or hostess present. Im going to buy copies to lend to people because sometimes people dont give them back, and I want always to have one. It is one of the most informative and charming books Ive read in years." — Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
"Julie Zickefoose has a giant heart and an eye and ear perfectly tuned to the world of birds, especially those that are broken or lost. Whether shes cooking up an insect omelet for a nestful of orphaned chimney swifts or allowing a curious hummingbird to slip its tongue into her nose, Julies love for birds knows no bounds. Her paintings and sketches are magical, and her book is sheer delight." — Melissa Block, host of NPR's All Things Considered
"Julie Z. is one in a million, and her paintings and anything she writes about birds are to be cherished and savored." — Jane Alexander, actress, writer, and birder
"Mr. Troyer, a bluebird saved from the fatal clutches of a sharp-shinned hawk, goes on to live a life of bigamy. Thus begins bird lover Zickefoose's captivating memoir. In her collection of avian stories — enlivened by her evocative line drawings — Zickefoose, a naturalist, bird painter, and songbird rehabilitator, shares her passion and curiosity for 'the zone where birds interact with people... the moment when my gaze meets a bird's — that exchange of awareness of the Ã¢Â€Â˜who' in each of us, the spark of understanding leaping from the bright bead of its eye to mine.' She takes on the care of four astonishingly tiny hummingbirds, 'hatched from eggs no bigger than black-eyed peas,' who dominate her life with feedings every 20 minutes. She rails against the extinction of ivory-billed woodpeckers and is transported by 'tanagers being tanagers, in all their unfathomable beauty and grace.' Birders will appreciate her meticulous observations and devotion to the avian world, but anyone who's ever considered hanging a birdfeeder is likely to be mesmerized by the sensuous, precise prose as well as Zickefoose's vivid portraits of scrawny, fluffy phoebe chicks, a self-possessed hummingbird perched on a clothesline, dwarfed by the surrounding clothespins, and orioles migrating by moonlight. Readers will be astounded by the drama and intelligence fluttering in their backyards. Agent: The Wiley Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Through raising and rehabilitating birds, Julie Zickefoose pulls back a curtain on their motivations, desires, and even emotions. This book is a visual feast, lavishly illustrated with watercolors and field sketches.
Julie Zickefoose lives for the moment when a wild, free living bird that she has raised or rehabilitated comes back to visit her; their eyes meet and they share a spark of understanding. Her reward for the grueling work of rescuing birds—such as feeding baby hummingbirds every twenty minutes all day long—is her empathy with them and the satisfaction of knowing the world is a birdier and more beautiful place.
The Bluebird Effect is about the change that's set in motion by one single act, such as saving an injured bluebird—or a hummingbird, swift, or phoebe. Each of the twenty five chapters covers a different species, and many depict an individual bird, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks. And each chapter is illustrated with Zickefoose's stunning watercolor paintings and drawings. Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds.
What can birds tell us about ourselves? In her almost thirty-year career as a bird rehabilitator, Julie Zickefoose has come to know wild birds as unique animals, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks. And in her new book, Julie shows off those personalities—whether it is the male wren who placed his two nests strategically so that his two mates couldn't see one another; or the bobwhite that would rush out of the woods and challenge her husband every time he pulled his car into the driveway.
Because of Julie's inability to walk away from a bird that needs help, her life has been profoundly affected by her connections with individual birds; they have had just as big an impact on her life as she has on theirs. Sometimes the impact is physical: while raising baby hummingbirds, she must feed them every twenty minutes, which means if she wants to go out—say, to buy groceries—she has to carry the constantly peeping chicks with her. Sometimes it's emotional: when birds she is raising or rehabilitating die, her sadness is very real.
Each of twenty-five chapters features a different species. Illustrated throughout with more than 300 of Julie's paintings and drawings, this is a meditative and humorous look at one woman's life among the birds.
About the Author
Julie Zickefoose began illustrating natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. Since then, her writing has been featured in Bird Watcher's Digest, on NPR's All Things Considered, and her book of illustrated essays Letters from Eden.
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