Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest - Watercolors by Julie Zickefoose

April 30-September 18, 2016

Mourning Doves watercolor © Julie Zickefoose
© Julie Zickefoose

Peek into the nests of seventeen bird species with Julie Zickefoose: author, artist, naturalist, and wildlife rehabilitator. Through the insightful original watercolors for her new book, Baby Birds, Zickefoose shares her intimate knowledge of the amazing development of baby birds from egg to fledgling. To create most of this extraordinary work, Julie would borrow a wild nestling, draw it, then return it to its nest every day until it fledged. Some nestlings were orphans she raised by hand, giving the ultimate insider’s glimpse into their lives.

Julie Zickefoose © Bill Thompson III
© Bill Thompson III

Julie writes, “Watching songbirds develop is like speed parenting: as if your infant stood up, walked, talked, graduated from high school, and asked for the car keys, all in the space of eighteen days. Or twelve, if you’re a Carolina wren or a mourning dove. Or as little as eight days, if you’re a yellow-billed cuckoo! I watch it, I draw it, I study it, and I still don’t get how it happens. Witnessing it is as close as I can get to understanding it. In painting these birds and telling their stories, I hope to convey, from a uniquely intimate viewpoint, some of the wonder, affection and immense respect I feel for birds, born of watching them grow up, right before my eyes.”

Julie and her family live in a ranch house topped by a 42-foot birdwatching tower. She has recorded 190 species of birds at her 80-acre wildlife sanctuary. In addition to her newest book, of the same title as the exhibition, she is the author and artist of The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds, Letters from Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods, and Backyard Birding: Using Natural Gardening to Attract Birds