The bird sounds used in this video were not intended to be representative of birds from the northeastern United States, specifically the Appalachian foothills of Ohio, where Julie Zickefoose, the author, lives, although you will hear some of them, such as the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, the American Crow, and the Chimney Swift, all of which had been individually added over the ambient background audio. See if you can identify them. Can you also identify the country of origin of the ambient bird sounds?
“To be able to see baby birds gain their independence and become what they were meant to be is a beautiful thing.” ~Julie Zickefoose
Where making illustrations are concerned, Julie uses watercolors, a medium which she had been using since seventh grade, remarking that watercolor works exactly how she wants it to, letting it run and blend into the paper. Creating a single page for the book takes as long as the bird needs to develop, which means as long as a month or so, as she also records the time after the birds leave the nest.
Julie noted that raising birds gave her some powerful and compelling insights into how birds think, and her training in bird behavior and ecology helped out with her writing. Julie focuses on showing the birds rather than attributing the birds’ thoughts to it, and she remarked that birds have their own goals, thoughts and emotions. One of the things that surprised her was how well the birds she raised or had rescued and fed, such as some hummingbirds, bonded well with her, as these would follow her around whenever she went out into the yard.
For potential bird watchers, Julie suggests to observe from a distance with a good pair of binoculars and stay out of the birds’ space since birds watch humans possibly even more closely than humans watch birds.
Writing Baby Birds made Julie realize that she has found a niche that she is uniquely qualified to fill, given all her certifications, skills, and time she can take out to observe them. In addition to working on another possible book on baby birds, Julie intends to write a book about her Boston terrier, Chet Baker, who already has a Facebook page of his own.
"Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
Julie Zickefoose’s website for her book, Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest, is juliezickefoose.com.
Purchase on Amazon: Baby Birds: An Artists Looks into the Nest by Julie Zickefoose