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The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds Hardcover – March 20, 2012
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“We've been knocked to our knees by the delightful illustrated essay collection… you don't have to care all that much about birds to get sucked into [Zickefoose’s] dreamy illustrated stories of bluebirds and phoebes, titmice and ospreys. In delicate, subtle strokes of the pen and brush, she reveals a lifetime of backyard friendships—moments spent observing a bluebird couple or listening to the calls of scarlet tanagers….Zickefoose has spent a lifetime observing this particular corner of the domestic-wild world, and she did not escape these experience without gaining both wisdom and humor—about mates, about our obligation to help others or set them free, about loss and about thankfulness." —Oprah.com’s Book of the Week
Library Journal’s BEST BOOKS OF 2012: Science & Technology
2013 Ohioana Book Award, nonfiction
“Beguiling stories from a naturalist’s life with backyard birds....Describing her songbirds with a delicacy of words and brush strokes, Zickefoose makes learning about birds seem like the adventure of a lifetime. A wonderful treat for birders.” —Kirkus
"The Bluebird Effect" is a terrific read and a feast for the eyes. Buy! Buy! Buy!" —The Charleston Gazette
"insightful essays and lovely illustrations...[Zickefoose has] drawn sketches and painted vivid pictures with words, letting us see much more about those not-so-common lives outside our windows." —Seattle Times
From the Inside Flap
"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.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The author had long dreamed of being an Ornithologist, but couldn't get into the college she had dreamed of because of her math scores on the SAT. She turns this failure into a success as she gets to take an even more hands on approach working with birds, getting to the real and the personal side of birds. She describes her emotional bonds with the birds and documents how each of her birds is different in their personalities. I found it very touching and something most anyone would relate to.
This is really a beautiful book from the cover art throughout. It contains gorgeous drawings that the author drew of her inspirations, the birds in her care. It also includes interesting side notes that she kept on most of her willing subjects.
If you love birds or love reading about them, I'd highly suggest getting this book. This book is one I will treasure in my library for a long, long time.
Zickefoose's dedication to bird rehabilitation in tandem with her insight as a writer and painter make this collection so incredibly engaging. She recounts her personal experiences and connections with 25 different species of birds, weaving comedy, tragedy, romance, and natural history into a rich, illustrated memoir of sorts. Zickefoose is a naturalist and a storyteller; she observes and conveys. And as she relates her tales through text and visual art, she becomes a guide for her audience to live her experiences as she has lived them, see what she has seen, and achieve a greater awareness of the complexity (and the undeniable individuality) of our avian cohabitants.
Bird lovers will delight in perusing this collection of stories and illustrations; they may also find some of their more emotional biases challenged (as I did mine). Zickefoose's sentimentalism is always tempered with realism, in a way that has impacted me deeply. Her views are logical; she actively criticizes and dissects her opinions where sensitive issues (e.g., hunting, protection of endangered species, euthanasia, keeping parrots as pets) are concerned. The resulting perspective she offers is diplomatic and, I believe, of immense value.
As I was reading an advanced copy, none of the illustrations were printed in color -- I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product!
I particularly liked the story about the bird with the twisted head, the author found and nursed back to health, but there are so many good ones it really is impossible to choose just a single story. I got the impression that the author and her husband truly cared about the animals they wrote about and spent so much time with.
The artist in particular really needs to be commended for the loving, cute and cheerful pictures of birds. I like the way that they are illustrated in a sketch-like manner inside the margins and including cute little notes. This is a great book for bird lovers or to send a friend. I know I will cherish this book on my keeper shelf.
It is obvious that Julie has a dislike of free-roaming cats who injure birds and several of the birds she rehabilitated or attempted to rehabilitate were mauled by cats.
She talks about phoebes, starlings, chimney swifts, a titmouse, grouse, etc., etc. She also included a very interesting story about a turkey vulture which throws up in her car. Apparently turkey vulture vomit is awfully fetid--not that other vomit isn't but this is worse. I like how she ends her book with Charlie, her parrot. I did not realize parrots were such bad pets. She defines a pet as an animal whose emotional needs can be met by a human being and a parrot does not fit this definition according to Julie.
Her sketches throughtout the book are wonderful and her bird stories kept my interest. She named many of the birds and when rehabilitated always released them if they could live on their own. Julie is definitely a "bird mother" and from my perspective her husband Bill is a saint to put up with it all. Although I'm not a birder, it was great to read about Julie's experiences and I'm am thankful their exists all forms of people in this world who take care of orphaned animals avian or otherwise.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Same as above as same author. Another very fine Julie Zickefoose book.Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
There are not enough chirps in the world to express the wonders in this book. The drawings are as sensitive as the subject. I was already a bird watcher and bird lover. Read morePublished 2 months ago by shalala
Beautiful illustrations and compelling stories of Julie's experiences with her bird neighbors.Published 3 months ago by C.C. Norris
Heard Julie speak at the Sedona Hummingbird Festival this past summer. Truly inspiring lady.Published 3 months ago by MH
The author has written a wonderful documentary of her experiences of caring for (mostly) small birds. Read morePublished 8 months ago by corvid49
The book starts well, but beware of the downward spiral. The interesting stories gradually transition to gloomy rants. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Susan
Julie Zickefoose achieves a masterful balance between a facts-only ornithology book and emotions-mainly descriptions that I’ve encountered before. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sergei Bobyr
Julie Zickefoose never disappoints. I've read her articles in Bird Watchers' Digest for years. The illustrations are charming. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jane Maule