Spark Bird.

Dappled morning light danced through the cottage curtains of my shared bedroom. Outside was a massive ficus tree framed by my neighbor’s huge hedge, with a break just large enough that I could peek through to admire his hibiscus flowers beyond. Usually, I spent most of my time outside climbing or collecting tadpoles down at one of the ponds or picking my neighbors’ flowers to surprise my mom.

But on this particular morning, I was confined to my bed with German measles. I was quarantined with just my mom stopping in with a meal or some more magazines, as I created my first scrapbook as a young 6-year-old. Finally forced to sit still, I studied the room and could hear a bird singing just outside the window. It was a robin, which I could readily recognize, but previously had not taken careful notice. I finally had time to really observe him, his beautiful rosy breast, and small white spots around his eyes, streaks under his beak and especially his cheery “Cheerio” song. He stopped by throughout the day and kept me company during this lonely time as I recovered from my illness. His beautiful song brought me joy and comfort then and still to this day. It was the start of my journey of loving birds and reminding me to take time to stop, listen, and appreciate their beauty and uniqueness.

Heidi Shiver, Bird Town Pennsylvania President and member of the PA Audubon Council Executive Committee

Photo credit:

American robin (modified photo), by lwolfartist, licensed under CC BY 2.0