Reviews for Bluebird Effect : Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds

Book News Reviews
In this color-illustrated memoir and natural history through the seasons, Zickefoose writes of her intimate relationship with birds as a biologist, bird rehabilitator, artist, and conservationist. She profiles 25 common backyard bird species, from tiny plovers to huge cranes, with each species exemplified by a specific bird and its own unique personality and habits. The book is illustrated with the author's b&w drawings and color watercolors. Zickefoose's writing has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
*Starred Review* Zickefoose was described by ornithologist Alan Poole as a storyteller, a sobriquet brilliantly illustrated in this, her second book (the first being Letters from Eden, 2006). Writing of her experiences as a naturalist, painter, and songbird rehabilitator, Zickefoose has produced a wonderful amalgam of nature writing and memoir as she describes 24 species of birds she has worked with and one (the ivory-billed woodpecker) that she has always wanted to see. Zickefoose writes with an immediacy that puts the reader into her shoes as she hand-feeds a nestling hummingbird, carries eastern phoebe fledglings to a screened tent for their daily exercise, monitors least tern and piping plover--both endangered species--nest colonies, and ponders her keeping of a permanently injured sparrow for his entire life. Illustrating each chapter are the author's evocative drawings and beautiful watercolor paintings, all of which masterfully capture not only movement and feathering but also the true gestalt of each bird pictured. This lovely book is one to savor slowly, admiring both writing and artistry. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #2
Beguiling stories from a naturalist's life with backyard birds. "For most of my life, I've tried to fix broken birds," writes painter and songbird rehabilitator Zickefoose (Backyard Birding, 2011, etc.) in this account of her rescues of cardinals, robins and more than 20 other bird species. For nearly 30 years the author has opened her bird-mother arms to the songbird of the moment, invariably an orphaned or injured nestling that must be fed every 20 to 45 minutes for several weeks. Over the years, as a regular contributor to Bird Watcher's Digest and NPR's All Things Considered, she has described her many encounters with these feathered creatures. The stories gathered here, accompanied by the author's watercolors and sketches, convey Zickefoose's strong affection for her charges and her ceaseless wonderment at the mysteries of their lives. "I live for the moment when my gaze meets a bird's," she writes. The birds are a disparate lot: the starlings with their imitations of car alarms and barking dogs; the potentially home-wrecking chickadees; the lean and sinewy ospreys; the barn sparrows that haunt the eaves of large home-improvement stores. Nothing is lost on author. She keeps a pair of binoculars in each room of her house and travels to beaches, salt marshes and the Central Flyway to observe the behaviors of these wild birds. Although possibly extinct, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is too beautiful to be gone forever, she writes, and the totemic vulture simply makes her smile. 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. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 March #2

Naturalist and NPR contributor Zickefoose (Letters from Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods) here discusses 25 bird species, many of which she has nurtured on her extensive Ohio property. She is unabashedly anthropomorphic, humane, maternal, and often sentimental, all qualities that have gained increasing respect among clinical scientists. It is hard not to get mushy reading about her bluebird--beautiful and gentle, its wing permanently injured by a hawk--who survives in the wild to sire 53 nestlings over a seven-year period. Such tales fill this beautifully illustrated journal of the seasons, greatly enhanced by her 216 evocative paintings and sketches (although her ospreys don't meet the high standards of the rest of her art), many of which are accompanied by attractive, handwritten captions. Backing up her chronicles of wildlife rehabilitation and travel are her decades of experience as a birder. She is a mainstay of Bird Watcher's Digest, the premier birding magazine, in which some of her chapters first appeared, and her art has been featured in major ornithological publications. VERDICT Highly recommended for all bird-watchers and enthusiasts. [Look for a Q&A with Zickefoose online.--Ed.]--Henry Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia

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Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Artist and writer Zickefoose illustrates and reflects on 25 different species of common birds, sharing the intimate connections she has made with them, many of whom she has rescued. (LJ 3/15/12) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 December #2

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 ‘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. (Mar.)

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