The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds - Julie Zickefoose If you love birds, hie thee to a bookstore toot-sweet and bring home this masterpiece. THE BLUEBIRD EFFECT deserves 30 stars. That's one star for every year Julie Zickefoose has devoted to observing, rehabilitating, painting, and writing about wild birds. Her warmth comes through on every page. This is a book to be treasured and revisited, both for solace and for inspiration in your own efforts to connect with common birds. Julie's artwork is gorgeous, and so intimate. These are paintings and sketches of birds she has known personally and helped on their way to wild independence. THE BLUEBIRD EFFECT was a balm for my battered spirit. I've never laughed and cried so much while reading a bird book. Julie has learned all kinds of strange things in her peregrinations, including "that the people who sunbathe nude in tern colonies are not the ones you'd necessarily want to see in dishabille." She also shares a lot of fascinating truths that fly in the face of traditionally accepted birding wisdom. (Puns most certainly on purpose.)I especially liked the Hummingbird Summer section. Julie was given four orphaned hummingbird nestlings to raise. They had to be fed so often that she couldn't leave them at home when she had to do errands. One day she had to take them with her, and you can't leave them in the car on a hot summer day, so she brought them in the grocery store with her. And of course, that's when two of them decided it was a good time to fledge! Fortunately, she had them in a covered carrier.In the chapter on orchard orioles I learned a new word -- Zugunruhe -- which means "migratory restlessness." For 17 years Julie had an oriole named Ora Lee who had been rendered permanently flightless by a house cat. Every spring and fall, that old Zugunruhe would kick in, and Ora Lee's body knew it was time to migrate. She would flop around helplessly, trying to fly north or south, so Julie had to put her in a padded bathtub so she wouldn't injure herself during her "migration."Even the carrion birds have something to teach us, even if it's only what we should avoid at the grocery store. When meat in her freezer gets too old, Julie puts it out for the turkey vultures and notes: "For the record, even a turkey vulture won't eat a processed chicken nugget. I stopped buying them for my son when I saw the vultures picking around them." She feels a special connection with turkey vultures, and has even been graced with two sightings a year apart of the same albino turkey vulture -- white with a charcoal-grey head and three black feathers on one wing. Julie saves the last chapter for the one bird in her life who has never had the chance to be wild and free -- Charlie the chestnut-fronted macaw. Charlie's antics are hilarious. I cracked up at the way he would shout "Helloooo? Yeah!" every time she answered the phone. But she recognizes her error in having bought him way back in 1989. Parrots can never be "pets" because they can never be domesticated. Even with the most dedicated owners, the parrots' lives amount to solitary confinement, yearning to fly free and be with their own kind. They self-mutilate to express frustration at being in captivity and longing for a mate. Charlie gets the last laugh, though, with the zinger at the end of the book. There are lots of other birds covered in the book, but I'll leave them for you to discover on your own. I will say, though, that I read the chapter on ivory-billed woodpeckers with heart pounding and tears in my eyes at the possibility that these magnificent birds may not, after all, be extinct.Thank you, Julie Z., bird mama, for your years of service to our avian friends, and for creating this beautiful book. You are a heroine. You also have a really cool last name, which could itself be a bird call: "Zick-zick-zick-zick-zick-e-FOO-se"