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I'm an artist and writer who lives in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio. Macaws are spectacularly messy eaters, and once they've dropped something to the forest floor, they don't go down and pick it up. They don't "want" their precious seeds to be eaten.

With this blog, I hope to show what happens when you make room in your life, every day, for the things that bring you joy. Thursday, Feb.11, 7 PM: "Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest" Marietta Natural History Society hosts at Rickey Science Center, Room 150, Marietta College Campus , 4th and Butler Streets, Marietta, OH, 45750. February 20-March 1, 2016: Costa Rica: Birding with Julie Zickefoose and Mario Cordoba Presented by Holbrook Travel SOLD OUT Tuesday, April 12, 2016: Publication Date for Julie's new book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest Tuesday, April 19, 6 PM: "Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest" Worthington Libraries host at the Griswold Center, 777 High Street, Worthington, OH 43085 Saturday, April 23, 2016, 2pm. Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6 PM: "Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest" Story Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 7 PM: Fruitlands Reads Author's Lecture: Julie Zickefoose on Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest Fruitlands Museum102 Prospect Hill Rd. Book signing to follow Thursday, April 28, 2016: "Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest" Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Sanctuary, 208 South Great Road Lincoln, MA 01773; 781-259-2200. Saturday, April 30, 2016: Show of original art for "Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest" Museum of American Bird Art, 963 Washington St., Canton, MA 02021. Thursday, May 5-Sunday, May 8, 2016: Julie Zickefoose and Bill Thompson at New River Birding Festival, Fayetteville, WV. 7, 2016: Natural History Tour of South Africa with Julie Zickefoose and Leon Marais Holbrook Travel Website (search for Julie Zickefoose)Hand-crafted, small artisan trip to see the best of South Africa from spring wildflower boom on the Western Cape to large animals in Kruger Park--and all the birds in between! So seeds often carry a toxic load to discourage seed predators like macaws.

18, 2016: Julie Zickefoose at American Birding Expo, Grange Insurance Audubon Center, 505 W. He obviously enjoys the apple seeds as much as or more than the fruit. I told Charlie's story on National Public Radio back in March. Plants make juicy sweet fruits in order to tempt animals and birds to eat them, and by doing so swallow and later disperse their seeds.

When I hand a quarter of apple to Charlie, my chestnut-fronted macaw, he macerates it, reducing it to shreds, digging to the core. And every time I see parrots in the wild, I wish hard that I could set him free.

They're usually seed predators, slicing through ripe fruit to eat the seeds.

Red and green macaws, Iwokrama Reserve, Guyana, South America Macaws, as a group, are not the best dispersers of plant seeds.

Julie will give a talk and tours of Indigo Hill, their home in the Ohio hills.

2, 2016: Bird Watcher's Digest's Reader Rendezvous: Marietta Homecoming with Julie Zickefoose at Marietta BWD HQ, 149 Acme St., Marietta, OH.

There are exceptions to this seed predator role, however, and an encounter with a large flock of red-shouldered macaws () at Rockview Lodge in Guyana, South America proved to be one.

Several huge mango trees on the lodge grounds were coming ripe when I stayed there in November, 2008, and the macaws were all over the still-green fruits like the white on rice. It has an accordingly shrill, cakky voice, and it was easy to find red-shouldered macaws wherever we went in Guyana, from the urban Georgetown Botanical Garden to the darkest interior.

This flock was putting a big hurt on some ripening mangoes.

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