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 are 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. (description from publisher)
That wintry landscape means difficult times for our feathered friends. While some birds fly south for the winter, many common Iowa backyard birds stay – chickadees, song sparrows, cardinals, juncos – and stick it out through the brutal cold and snow. You can give them a helping hand – and in the process get a chance to enjoy watching them up close – with just a few simple steps.
Two of the most important things to provide are shelter and water. Shelter for the birds can be a brush pile, or vines or perennials that you don’t cut down in the fall. Providing water during freezing temperatures can be more difficult; heaters for bird baths available, or simply keeping some water open by hand will also do the trick.
Finally, you can feed the birds. Placing the feeders so that you can watch the birds from inside your house can provide hours of entertainment as they brighten our winter landscape. For information on what food suits which birds, check out some of these titles from the library:
The Backyard Bird Feeders Bible by Sally Roth
Creating a Bird-friendly Backyard Habitat by Scott Edwards
Experts Guide to Backyard Birdfeeding by Bill Adler
The Bird Feeder Book by Donald Stokes
And, just because where there’s a bird feeder, there’s bound to be squirrels, Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Adler