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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.
A frequent commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, Julie Zickefoose has painted nature virtually all her life. At the age of seven she knew that she wanted to paint birds for a living, and her lifelong dedication shows in her paintings, which are meticulously accurate as well as beautiful. The paintings used here, of scenes from her beloved home in southern Ohio, illuminate well-crafted essays based on her daily walks and observations. Wild turkeys, coyotes, box turtles, and a bird-eating bullfrog flap, lope, and leap through her prose. She excels at describing and exploring interactions between people and animals, bringing her subjects to life in just a few lines. Her husband and young children make appearances, presenting their own challenges and pleasures. The essays are arranged by season, starting with winter, providing a sense of movement through the year.
Self-Portrait with Turtles is a book in the spirit of Walden and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but it is also unique, as David Carroll himself is. Driven by a passion for art and turtles, Carroll has lived a Walden-like life for decades, although he is married, with family. In Self -Portrait he tells the story of that remarkable life. He writes about his early encounters with turtles, which led to a lifelong fascination with them and their swampy habitats, and about the high school teacher who told him that, contrary to everything he had been taught before, art is the only thing that matters, the only thing that lasts. During his years at art school in Boston, he got to know the turtles of the Fenway, including one giant snapper he wrestled to shore and carried to his studio for a portrait session. After a brief career as a teacher, Carroll has spent decades scraping out a living as an artist and naturalist, raising three children on a shoestring with his artist wife. "We live like turtles," he has said; "we hunker down when times get hard." In a materialistic age, he and his family have gone their own way, living simply and self-sufficiently, showing that the secret of a good life is to devote yourself to what you love.
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.
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.
Table of Contents
EARLY YEARS The First Eight Years and#183; 3 The First Turtle and#183; 5 Companera and#183; 10 Another Spring and#183; 17 Wild Boy and#183; 25 Loss and#183; 34 Gordon and#183; 38 Mr. Moxley and Mr. Malone and#183; 39 The Beach and#183; 41 Bill and DeDe and#183; 45 Cedar Pastures and#183; 50 Walden and#183; 58 Art, Biology, Writing and#183; 61
ART SCHOOL My Room and#183; 67 The Fens and#183; 69 Girls and#183; 72 The Ark and#183; 74 Drawing, Painting, Writing and#183; 79 Laurette and#183; 84 Queensbury Street and#183; 86 Farewell to Cedar Pastures and#183; 92
MIDDLE YEARS Big Sandy Pond and#183; 97 Teaching and#183; 103 Turtles and#183; 105 The Old Johnson Farm and#183; 114 Pumpkin Hill and#183; 122 Wild Cranberries and#183; 133 Archie Carr and#183; 135
LATER YEARS Sibley and#183; 141 The Digs and#183; 143 Dudley House and#183; 146 Spotted Turtles and#183; 148 The Year of the Turtle and#183; 154 Tupper Hill and#183; 159 Return of the Native and#183; 165 The New Land and#183; 169 Ariadne Nesting and#183; 171
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