Bird Befriends Alaska Girl on July 4th, Settles In for a Sweet Snuggle … on Her Head



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I grew up in an Audubon Society family. These were in the days before the Audubons became overtly political, and that organization’s main focus was on, you know, birds. We did migrating bird counts in the spring and fall, and nesting bird counts on my folk’s Allamakee County land every spring and summer. With this upbringing, it would be surprising if I hadn’t developed an interest in birds, and it’s an interest I maintain to this day. 

Around our Susitna Valley property right now, we have legions of chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, and pine siskins; there are warblers back in the brush and most mornings, a Swainson’s Thrush regales us from the treetops with its distinct and beautiful song. In the winter many of our birds move south, but the chickadees and nuthatches remain, and it’s a wonder how a bundle of fluff weighing less than an ounce can make it through our long, dark, subarctic winter nights but they do. And as soon as the sky begins to brighten the chickadees are first at the feeder, gobbling up suet and punctuating the morning with sparks of color and sound.

So with this background, you can see how a story about a girl in Eagle River, Alaska, befriending a bird on Independence Day caught my attention.

While walking to a Fourth of July celebration at the Lion’s Club in Eagle River, the Martinez family experienced such a moment when a very small bird softly landed on top of 5-year-old Moira’s head.

“It really made our day,” said Meghan Martinez, Moira’s mother.

Shortly after landing, the little bird closed its eyes and started to fall asleep.

“It just kind of cozied in,” Martinez said. “It closed its eyes and seemed like it wanted to take a little nap.” 

“I told [Moira], ‘You must be some sort of Disney princess for a bird to just choose you,” Martinez said. “It felt like a blessing sent from above.”

From the video in the article, the bird appears to be a Pine Siskin, and it appears to be perfectly healthy and happy; just more friendly than usual for a bird that is usually on the tame side to begin with. We have big flocks of these that come around most summers; they are mostly ground feeders and are particularly fond of dandelion seeds, of which we have a surfeit.


See Related: Duck, Duck, Goose! Three Fowl Stories for Your Sunday 

The Story a Black Rock Told Me on a Montana Mountain


The look on little Moira Martinez’s face when the bird was settling in for a snooze on her head speaks volumes. It was a moment when a child made a connection with a wild creature that she couldn’t have made by reading a book or viewing the bird on a tablet or phone. This was real; a very physical contact and, more importantly, a connection. This wasn’t a collection of pixels on a screen but a living, breathing creature that decided, for whatever reason, that little Moira’s head was a good place for a quick snooze. 

Moira, we suspect, will never look at birds in quite the same way again.

I’ve always loved watching birds and I always will. If you find yourself interested in birds or feel you may want to explore the world of birds, you only need two things: A pair of binoculars, and a copy of the gold standard, Roger Tory Petersen’s “.” With these two items, you’re set up for hours and days of happy viewing.

We can hope Moira Martinez is bound to discover this hobby as well.





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