RTPI To Host ‘Bluebird Effect’ Author Wednesday Night

“Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds” is about what happens when, by virtue of raising it when it’s orphaned or helping it when it’s hurt, one is taken into the confidence of a wild bird. It’s about the unexpected mental and emotional capacities of birds, especially songbirds, which tend to be underestimated and overlooked.

Julie Zickefoose will present an intimate look at the rich mental and emotional landscape of birds. The event – free and open to the public with donations gratefully accepted – will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Zickefoose will be on hand to sign books after the program.

Zickefoose started off as an illustrator of natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. A six-year stint as a field biologist with The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut Chapter proved a strong motivator both to learn more about ecosystems and to go back to drawing. Along the way, she began to write her own essays, studded with observations of birds and animals, and writing slowly crept into the forefront of her interests.

Bird Watcher’s Digest has been the major print venue for her writing since 1986, and she’s painted 24 covers for the magazine. She had a five-year run as a commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” telling about bird-eating bullfrogs and hummingbirds who came home to their foster mother, among other subjects.

Julie’s first book of illustrated essays, “Letters from Eden,” was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006. She contributed natural history commentaries to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” from 2005-2010.

Julie Zickefoose on Blogspot entertains around 19,000 visits per month. Her current book, “The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds With Common Birds,” was Oprah’s Book of the Week in April 2012. It’s an amalgam of memoir, natural history and watercolor paintings and life sketches.