When my oldest daughter was four year’s old she informed us that she wanted to be an ornithologist when she grew up. I’m not sure where she learned that word, probably from her favorite television show at the time, Blue’s Clues, but I do know that she loved birds from early on. Soon her little sister caught the passion too. Rather than collecting American Girl or Barbie dolls, it was the Audubon toy birds that filled our house.
You’ve probably seen these stuffed birds in a variety of stores. My girls loved to squeeze each bird’s belly to hear its individual song. As parents, we never minded the girls saving their funds in order to add the next bird to add to their collection. At least they were learning about nature while playing. More than this, the reward came when walking outdoors together. When we heard a sound like birdie birdie birdie, our girls would turn their heads, invariably one of them saying “Mama, there’s the Cardinal.”