Julia Zarankin unintentionally became a birder after seeing her first Red-winged Blackbird. She now loves to blog about her misadventures in bird identification, and offers trenchant analysis of avian coiffures as often as possible. In her other life, she is a writer, editor, writing coach, and lecturer to later-life learners in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in such places as Maisonneuve, The New Quarterly, The Threepenny Review, The Antioch Review, The Toast, and PRISM International. In her former life, she worked as a professor of Russian literature and culture at the University of Missouri. She is a regular contributor to Ontario Nature and also reviews books for Birding.