deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefoose

Jenna Harris October 12, 2020 7 No Comments

deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefoose

ONE OF THE WAYS many people have been getting via the final seven months is by taking consolation within the open air, in all that nature and the backyard have to supply—by slowing down, wanting round, and connecting. One individual I do know who does that as her 24/7/365 life apply is right this moment’s podcast visitor, wildlife rehabilitator and artist and creator Julie Zickefoose.

I’ve to confess to being a fan cutie of Julie’s, and after I want a carry these days—and who doesn’t on this most difficult 12 months of all?—I usually scroll via her Instagram to observe her newest wild fowl rescue journey, or her unfolding meadow exhibiting off one more sequence of bloom and sweetness. Or frankly, generally simply to love the antics and movies and photographs of the latest member of her household, a charismatic canine named Curtis Loew (above), and their deepening bond. And I’m not even a canine individual.

Julie’s right here to assist us all focus, to regulate the outside—on our path cameras, on her inhabitants of monarchs, and extra. We talked about goings-on to have your eye on this fall.

You’ll hear us get all nerdy the primary jiffy and examine latest birds sightings, after which lastly get all the way down to it: how these small guests preserve us going, 12 months after 12 months, and particularly in a 12 months love this. And then she provides us best-practice recommendation for feeding birds this winter.

Plus: Enter to win her e book “Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-Luck Jay” within the feedback field on the very backside of the web page.

Read alongside as you hearken to the October 12, 2020 version of my public-radio flash and podcast utilizing the participant under. You can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefooseconnecting to nature, with julie zickefoose



Margaret Roach: Hi Julie, how are you?

Julie Zickefoose: Hey, Margaret, I’m nice. I’m working round love a loopy squirrel.

Margaret: Well, I’m your fan cutie. I’ve simply confessed.

Julie: Oh my gosh.

Margaret: But critically, I simply discover generally, and I don’t know if that is for you as properly, however I wasn’t a huge social-media individual actually personally a lot, as a lot as for and no matter. But I’ve discovered generally there’s sure individuals who I really feel relaxed after I look via what they’re doing and the place they’re, and your photos loosen up me. [Laughter.]

Julie: That’s the intent. And I believe most likely I’m posting to loosen up myself and I are likely to do it when I’ve a second to mirror and simply type of draw a small that means out of what I’m seeing. And I’m aggressively apolitical, as a result of I cannot survive if I grow to be political.

Margaret: Yes, sure. We’re going to stay to, to ecology and backyard and crops and birds and bugs and stuff love that. So no politics. I believed I’d do a giveaway of “Saving Jemima,” which was your most up-to-date e book, and we talked about it when it came out, I consider—I consider it was your most up-to-date, your story of this hard-luck jay, this blue jay, that you simply rehabbed. Anyway, I really like that e book. It additionally relaxed me and gave me escape.

Julie: Lovely. Oh, that’s nice.

Margaret: So I known as you up as a result of I would like your professional recommendation on how you can decelerate and go searching, the place to start. Because you actually appear to have a apply of connecting to nature. So inform us a small bit about you and that.

Julie: Well, it actually, actually helps to have a canine with a bladder that needs to be set free each morning [laughter], as a result of, and I believe a whole lot of us know this, the canine brings out our interior little one. It forces us to go, “Oh, well I’ll just take a long walk with the dog.”

And that’s a beautiful excuse to get out every morning with out fail as a result of that is an crucial. So I turned that right into a morning meditation that may generally go 4 hours or extra, and that sounds love a kind of a wealthy Victorian girl solution to stay. I guarantee you of something however that. But I don’t have an workplace that I’ve to go to. My orchard and meadow is my workplace. And as soon as I noticed that, my life took a determined flip towards the fantastic, and I noticed that that observing issues and sharing what I see is basically my job. I’m a type of folks on the market who wants to do that and share.

Margaret: So inform us the place you might be.

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefooseJulie: I’m in Southeast Ohio, within the Appalachian foothills of Ohio, about 20 miles northeast of Marietta within the excessive southeast nook of the state. So it is a very rolling, closely wooded, extremely various space. It’s way more akin geographically to West Virginia than it’s to what most individuals consider as flat plains cornfield Ohio.

Margaret: So right here we’re, and when that is airing, it’s October and we could have been via a lot of the migration. Let’s simply speak concerning the latest migration or the continued migration. Who’s been visiting? What have you ever been in a position to say whats up to alongside the way in which?

Julie: Oh, it’s been so unbelievable. It was very late. Early September got here and went and not using a fowl, and I used to be fearful. I didn’t have my regular pulse of juvenile birds coming via in mid-July. And I believed, “Uh-oh.”

And then mid- to late September, third week of September got here round, and oh my goodness, it’s love the flood gates opened. So I used to be vastly reassured the birds had managed, regardless of the extremely merciless spring of very, very low temperatures in late May, birds had managed to drag off some tiny. But they did it later than they usually do. So these birds weren’t able to fly till most likely nearly now.

So they’re pouring via, and I believe the principle stars this 12 months for me have been the bay-breasted warblers, who’re all over the place, Blackpoll warblers as properly. I get plenty of Tennessees, as many individuals do. I generally suppose Tennessee warbler have to be one of the crucial considerable birds on the planet. If you go all the way down to Costa Rica, you see them within the espresso plantations, you see them in Guatemala on the mountaintops. They’re simply far and wide. Magnolia warblers, chestnut-sided warblers. It’s simply been so lovely.

I’ll say that vireos are various. We’ve had blue-headed, red-eyed, white-eyed and Philadelphia right here. So that’s at all times a thrill. Oddly, I get Philadelphia vireos however not warbling vireos. And I solely get Philadelphia vireos within the fall. I’ve had one spring file in 28 years.

The identical is true of Cape May warblers, who’re amongst our most typical migrants. I get gobs of them within the fall. I by no means use the phrase trash fowl, however some birders do. I’ve acquired gobs of Cape May warblers, however I get only a few within the spring. So that tells me that migration routes differ by season and doubtless by intercourse of the fowl. It’s all so complicated and interesting and retaining notes is the entire level.

Margaret: And that’s what you simply mentioned. You mentioned “record;” you referred to a file. And my neighbor up the hill, she likes birds as properly, and she or he texted me, I don’t know, every week or two in the past, or possibly it was mid-September, let’s say and she or he mentioned, “Oh, I still have a lot of having hummingbirds.” We get simply the ruby-throated within the Northeast right here.

And she mentioned, “I don’t usually get them after this week. I wonder if they’ll still be here next week.” So she retains data.

So I rapidly went to my, my Cornell Lab of Ornithology database, to my member account there, and checked. And I texted her proper again and I mentioned, “October 4th, 2016 was the latest siting of a hummingbird I ever had.”

Julie: [Laughter.]

Margaret: Do you already know what I imply? Hello. It comforts me. Continuity, proper?

Julie: Yes. Tying your self into the phenology of the season, being conscious of what’s regular and what’s anticipated in a sure week is such a good looking factor. And it’s the previous approach. It’s how folks lived: “Oh, well, it’s about time for the bee birds to come back in.”

But we’ve gotten away from that. But it’s proper inside everybody’s attain, to only write it down in your pc, in your cellphone, in eBird, on paper, love I do. Write it down after which have one thing you’ll be able to comb via, and see what your data look love. It’s a terrific, good thing to do and it ties you proper in.

And then the good segue you get there may be journaling. If you’re going to write down down the dates you see one thing, write about them. And writing helps you course of all the things you see and all the things you expertise, after which you will have a file.

Margaret: You had been talking about all the variety of warblers that you simply see, and if I truly ever left the home or backyard and went wherever, I most likely would see much more. So I largely do my birding from proper close to the home, proper in my backyard.

Julie: Me, too.

Margaret: So the black-throated blue warblers, I’ve at all times had them, however I don’t usually see them in season, I solely see them through the migration. And this 12 months I noticed a feminine, and feminine warblers are generally arduous, a minimum of for me, to inform aside from no matter. They look so totally different—properly, they at all times look so totally different from the male.

I noticed this fowl feeding on some Aralia racemosa, the spikenard-

Julie: Ah!

Margaret: …the native perennial spikenard. And I noticed this fowl in there, and I regarded with my binoculars and I noticed this small white spot, this small white spot on the mid-wing. And I went to my e book and I used to be so enthusiastic about “white spot, white spot.” And positive sufficient. And I’d seen the male 1,000,000 instances.

The different factor I really like is the conduct, attending to know… Not simply “I saw this bird. Check!” But “this is a bird that you’ll see it gleaning along the branches in trees, in deciduous trees.” I’ll see them, they’re going rapidly across the branches and in search of goodies. Other birds don’t behave precisely the identical approach. I really like anticipating the conduct, too.

Julie: And you additionally talked about Aralia racemosa as a plant. When I lived in Connecticut, I used to hang-out an enormous Hercules membership, which is basically Aralia spinosa.

Margaret: Which I’ve a complete grove of, sure. [Laughter.]

Julie: Oh my gosh. Well, that was at all times the place the black-throated blues got here. And how cool that you simply’ve acquired a warbler that appears to specialize, a minimum of throughout fall migration, on Aralia species.

Margaret: Yes, it’s attention-grabbing. And in fact normally who I see in each herbaceous and woody Aralia that you simply simply talked about, are varied thrushes, and the Swainson’s comes solely at the moment of 12 months, solely at the moment of 12 months, for me. Different thrashes come and love these fruits.

Julie: Yeah, Aralia spinosa is a thrush-a-palooza.

Margaret: [Laughter.]

Julie: We’re having that proper now, I’m holding a thrush-a-palooza in my orchard. I’ve acquired a hermit. Hermit [thrush] has solely simply arrived, however Swainson’s—we’ve simply been overwhelmed with them. And a wooden [thrush]. And I’ve heard, and eventually, I made the gray-cheeked thrush, my whooping crane this fall—there’s a good looking Lyle Lovett tune about his in search of a whooping crane and never with the ability to discover one. I saved listening to the gray-cheeked thrush going [she then imitates the bird’s call]… Which is its distinctive small name. And I lastly noticed one utter the queerp, and acquired a definitive thought. Of course, I couldn’t get an image. The thrushes are nearly inconceivable.

But that very same day I got here in from birding and I sat down at my drawing desk and a Swainson’s thrush plopped itself into my fowl bathtub and took a soaking bathtub. So I acquired fabulous photographs of that. And that was solely the second Swainson’s thrush I’ve had bathe within the bathtub. The final one was in September 2004.

Margaret: Not that anybody retains data of these items. [Laughter.]

Julie: Not that anybody right here is retaining data or is being a nerd about it. I’m being a complete nerd about it. I’ve acquired a shower record for my bathtub and I believe it at someplace round 79 species of birds have bathed in my fowl bathtub.

Margaret: Oh! Not that we’re making an attempt to only record birds out loud, viewers listening or studying the transcript, however what we’re making an attempt to say is: This is what retains us going. This is our connection. Both of us, right here we’re two folks, half a rustic aside from one another, and for years, and years and years, this has saved us going. So it’s a apply we each advocate, sure, as life-sustaining.

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefooseJulie: Can I additionally introduce one other apply that I see plenty of folks partaking in, and that I’ve finished over time? Monarch caterpillars are such extremely fascinating creatures to look at, and eventually there have been sufficient this 12 months, such that I used to be in a position to set up a small monarch ranch in my entrance yard [above].

I don’t say that I increase them, that appears slightly smug. So I love to look at them exterior. I believe they need to develop up exterior within the free air and open wind and I believe it prevents a whole lot of illness. So I watched them on the Asclepias I used to be rising in pots on my entrance porch, and I managed to soak up 10 caterpillars, caught them as they went on walkabout to do their pupation. And I acquired immersed in making time-lapse movies of them forming chrysalides after which rising from the chrysalis. It is so addictive. It’s so beautiful. I made movies in actual time and I made most of them in time-lapse utilizing an iPhone.

Margaret: And we’ll give hyperlinks to these each on… You had a few of them, I believe on Instagram didn’t you, and on the web site.

Julie: Yes, my Instagram feed has some. I’ve but to unleash what I’ve been doing, as a result of I’ve acquired a whole lot of enhancing to do. [Laughter.] It’s a type of issues that I acquired sucked down a whirlpool and I noticed I had one thing very, very particular. So being there for his or her emergence has been my aim.

And once more, it’s love the artwork of tea. You start to note extremely refined issues about their conduct that inform you after they’re about to undergo a life change, and also you additionally then grow to be… Hawk-like intent, you concentrate on the chrysalis and also you discover the small adjustments in it that tells you the butterfly’s about to emerge. And it’s simply so cool.

Yesterday I needed to exit at midday. I needed to go away the home, drop-dead date midday, simply because I needed to be an hour and a half away at 2. So I had this pair of chrysalides they usually had been nearly to eclose, and I prayed to no matter gods I’ve that they eclosed in time for me to make movies. And they did. It was simply approach, approach, approach cool and I simply launched the final one this morning.

Margaret: I’ve advised you in electronic mail, however I’ll say it out loud right here: I additionally, this 12 months, moreover getting a brand new pair of binoculars through the starting of the pandemic, I additionally acquired some path cameras and acquired some assist from a local expert in setting them up, studying and understanding how you can set them up and what I used to be in search of and so forth.

And that’s been one other approach of partaking, and particularly with the nightlife. Who’s out at evening—hysterical photos of not one set, however 4 units of eyeballs at midnight, in infrared mild glowing at midnight, and it’s love… [Many raccoon eyes at Margaret’s, below; date and time are of course wrong.]

Julie: And it actually laugh-out-loud moments the place I’ve plenty of enjoyable with the path cams, love coyotes approaching skunks and skunks then elevating the tail and backing up on the coyote. You’re simply love, “Oh, I know what’s going on in this picture.” Just laugh-out-loud moments. Or when the deer comes as much as lick the digicam. It’s simply so fabulous.

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefoose
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Margaret: I really feel love that’s one thing the place it’s not 1,000,000 {dollars} to get entangled in it, and it’s one thing the place it’s nice with kids, I might think about. It could be very partaking with kids, for the household to look ahead as soon as every week or no matter to the downloads and the instructing that may include it. I really feel love that’s looking forward to the vacations, that may be an beautiful household reward, is to ask a path digicam into your world. Again, it doesn’t should be the million-dollar ones. It can begin easy.

Julie: And right here’s the cool factor. I fought the growing tech on these items for a very long time. And I now have one from Moultrie Mobile, which is a subscription-based factor. And this loopy factor sends me an alert when one thing walks by the sport webcam and I get it on my cellphone. And if you’d like one thing addictive, simply have your cellphone say, “Oh, there’s something walking by game cam Number 1.” [Laughter.]

Margaret: Uh-oh.

Julie: I do know, I do know. Quite usually it’s a leaf falling, or one thing coming down love an acorn, one thing love that. But generally it’s a bobcat after which it’s love, “Oh my God, right now in my meadow is a coyote walking right there.” And isn’t that cool to know?

Margaret: So that’s simply one other factor. And I undoubtedly need to take various minutes right here, as a result of I do know what’ll occur is we’ll begin speaking warblers once more and run out of time [laughter], however I wished…

One of the issues that’s developing is quote fowl feeder season. I can’t feed as a result of as we’ve talked about earlier than, as a result of I’ve black bear who love to come back to the home. So I don’t feed from someday in March till Thanksgiving or round there.

But the height feeder season, whether or not you will have black bear otherwise you don’t have black bear is usually the winter. That’s when lots of people are interested by it. And I simply wished to ask you, looking forward to that, you feed at sure instances of 12 months and what’s greatest practices and the way will we interact extra with that? Not simply put the feeder on the market, however make that a part of our life, actually.

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefooseJulie: Well, because you and I’ve been corresponding, I’ve been considering so much about the entire black bear concern, and that’s an animal that persons are usually shocked to listen to me say, “I do not want black bears. I never want to see a black bear in my yard. Thank you very much.” I’ve acquired coons, that’s lots. But yeah, I actually, actually empathize with you on that, that risk of getting all the things destroyed within the swipe of a paw as a result of these items stay in your space.

We will not be but cursed with black bears in Southeast Ohio, however I do know they’re coming.

And I’ve to suppose although, that that is higher for birds, to not feed when it’s heat. From a illness standpoint, as a wildlife rehabilitator, I’ve seen a lot illness in summer time feeding, and I ended feeding in mid-July this 12 months. I took a step again and I mentioned, “Julie, what are you doing?”

Because I had home finches coming, they got here and nested within the yard and it was all lovable and fantastic and I might look into the nest and see them.

Well, then they raised 9 tiny, and 5 of these got here down with Mycoplasmal gallisepticum, which is the silly home finch illness that chickens carry that acquired into the Eastern home finch inhabitants and proliferated as a result of these birds are genetically inbred; they’re genetically depressed. [Above, a finch with the illness at Julie’s.] They don’t have any resistance to it they usually catch it. So then they go about and transmit it to a minimum of 30 different species of untamed birds, together with my beloved blue jays.

So I checked out these sick birds, huddled on my feeder, huddled in my fowl bathtub, pooping into the water, and I mentioned, “Julie, what are you doing? This is the most selfish thing you could possibly do.”

I pulled down all of the feeders, I bleached them, and I put them away till right this moment. And that was actually tough for me as a result of these are my mates, these are my neighbors, these birds—particularly the blue jays. And it was so arduous to have them come by the studio window and really beg from me and say, “You haven’t put it out today. What’s going on?” And I’d should look them within the eye and I say, “It’s for your own good. Go get a caterpillar. Goodbye.”

So I believe bears are kind of forcing the pendulum, a minimum of within the Northeast and down the Appalachian chain, to swing again towards what is sensible, which is to feed the birds after they truly would possibly want it.

Margaret: To complement in winter.

Julie: Exactly. To complement in winter. That’s what feeding should be. And I believe a whole lot of us have fully overlooked that, and persons are feeding their birds stay mealworms all summer time lengthy. They don’t want that. It’s not good for them. It causes overproduction in bluebirds, and folks get satisfied that they’re the middle of the birds’ universe, and the birds are solely too glad to bolster that silly notion.

Margaret: So within the final couple, two, three minutes, when will we feed?

Julie: What?

Margaret: Yes, I do know, we’re at all times out of time; we’re at all times out of time. It must be known as [Laughter.]

But after we get to the purpose the place we’re able to feed, for me, that’s, once more, Thanksgiving-ish, I’ve a factor in opposition to these mixes, the cheaper bagged mixes, they’re largely millet, proso millet or no matter, anyway. I simply love to feed one thing that’s tremendous high-value. I’m going to provide the recipe on your Zick Dough, the link to your recipe, since you make this glorious concoction additionally, and we talked about it the final time. [Above, a titmouse jumps for joy over Zick Dough.] But what seeds do you feed?

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefooseJulie: My favourite staple is the peanut half. And these are rejects from the sweet trade. They’re fairly arduous to seek out at an inexpensive value, however I purchase them by the 50-pound bag at my beloved White’s Mill in Athens, Ohio. So I simply introduced 50 kilos house yesterday. I roast them myself as a result of I believe it’s most likely extra digestible and I love the odor of roasting peanuts, and it provides me one thing nerdy to do. The different staple is the sunflower chip, the small coronary heart.

Margaret: That’s what I take advantage of, yeah.

Julie: There’s no waste. You aren’t poisoning your garden with holes. You aren’t going to get the flour moths in them fairly as badly with out realizing they’re in… You know what I imply? You have a complete factor of black oil sunflower they usually all have holes drilled in them, so that they aren’t even edible, however you’ll be able to’t even inform.

So these are my two staples. And then I do put out black oil sunflower with shells and I put out nyjer for the goldfinches and the siskins. But the 2 are the sunflower chips and the peanuts as a result of there’s no waste they usually don’t wreck my garden below… Not that I’ve a good looking garden, however they don’t wreck it.

Margaret: And water 12 months spherical do you will have?

Julie: Yes, I’ve water year-round. I take the fowl spa down, the effervescent fowl spa, after which I put out a heated pet dish, which could be very low cost—and I put a few bricks in it and a pleasant flat rock so the birds can’t bathe in it, they’ll solely drink from it. And the huge rock additionally retains them from pooping in it fairly a lot. So I’ve that going all winter, and that’s been fantastic. You’ll get glints and thrushes and tanagers and stuff love that. It’s very cool.

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefooseMargaret: Well, Julie, we’re going to should have one other date to do that as a result of I can simply inform there’s 1,000,000 different issues we have to discuss, however I’m so glad to listen to your voice and it’s cheered me up, so thanks, thanks, thanks on your time.

Julie: Oh Margaret anytime, anytime. And your voice cheers me, too. Thank you for doing what you do.

Margaret: All proper, and we’ll folks via a hyperlink to your Instagram to fulfill Curtis, Mr. Curtis.

Julie: Curtis Loew.

Margaret: All proper. Talk to you quickly.

(All photographs courtesy of Julie Zickefoose or her Instagram.)

extra from julie

enter to win a replica of ‘saving jemima’

deepening our nature connections with julie zickefoose - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefoose

I’LL BUY A COPY OF ‘Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-Luck Jay’ by Julie Zickefoose (affiliate hyperlink) for one fortunate reader. All it’s important to do to enter is reply this query within the feedback field on the very backside of the web page:

What’s you favourite backyard customer this time or 12 months and into winter (and inform us the place you backyard)?

No reply, of feeling shy? Just say one thing love “count me in” and I’ll,however a reply is even higher. I’ll choose a random winner after entries shut at midnight Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Good luck to all.

(Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

want the podcast model of the flash?

lessons in ecology from mount auburn cemetery with david barnett - deepening our nature connections, with julie zickefoose

MY WEEKLY public-radio flash, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper within the UK, started its 11th 12 months in March 2020. In 2016, the flash received three silver medals for excellence from the Garden Writers Association. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station within the nation. Listen regionally within the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the October 12, 2020 flash utilizing the participant close to the highest of this transcript. You can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

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