Julie Zickefoose is author and illustrator of Letters from Eden, The Bluebird Effect, and Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest, all published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Awakening readers to the astonishing things birds think and do is her job. She writes and paints from Indigo Hill, an 80-acre sanctuary in Appalachian Ohio.
In between books, she gives talks to clubs and festivals around the country, hoping to sell more books so she can keep writing them. Outreach through a variety of media, including Instagram and Facebook, leads readers to her long-running blog, Julie Zickefoose on Blogspot, regularly updated since 2005. Julie actually begins to feel peaked when she hasn’t posted recently. The buildup of wonder and beauty, constantly flowing and unshared, must be regularly addressed.
Perhaps the greatest blessing of Julie’s freelance career is the ability to leap off after interesting tangents, the way one would chase a butterfly. Baby Birds, for instance, chronicles the daily development of 17 species from hatching to fledging in pencil and watercolor, something no one has ever done before. The book was the result of 13 years of serendipitous encounters with nesting birds. Julie’s latest irresistible tangent is blue jays, sparked by raising and releasing Jemima, an orphaned nestling, in the summer of 2017. In all this, her home base is the wellspring of study and observation. Her home, ringed by hummingbird and butterfly gardens, is like a large blind, from which she becomes acquainted with birds, box turtles, bats, bobcats, and bugs. Leaving no creature unidentified is a potent way to connect with nature, and Julie enjoys sharing her passion and curiosity with people wherever she goes.