By Desmond MacBride
7th grade, Glenfield Middle School

Johnson was an ornithologist. He loved birds, and he loved learning more about them. So of course he loved living near Anderson Park, a massive area of land where birds were always near. Whenever he was down, he could walk to a beautiful park, stroll about the grass, walk near the creek, and see and learn more about his feathered friends. Because of this, Johnson was a happy man, but his one dream still eluded him. That goal was to find and name a new kind of bird. And one fine spring morning, Johnson woke up, went through his morning routine, and set out to the park to achieve his dream.

Johnson walked the whole path, looked at and around every tree, and listened to every sound, but to no avail. At last, he thought to check near the creek. Johnson meandered about the creekside, looking and listening, and suddenly, he heard something! The noise he heard was certainly a bird call, three notes, starting low but reaching a high point at the end. Johnson managed to record the sound with his phone, but despite his searching, the bird itself was nowhere to be seen. Still, he had evidence. He went home and went onto a bird-watching site, and submitted the call to the site. Several people noted that it was not a recognized bird call, and asked Johnson what he would name the bird. Johnson thought for a minute, and came up with a perfect name. He would call the bird the Andersons bird, for the lovely place where it lived.

After this, a long waiting game began. Johnson went to the park every day to search for this bird, checking and waiting and listening for hours and hours on end, yet to no avail. Days began to turn to weeks. Johnson talked to experts, did hours of research, built feeders and nests, but still nothing. After nearly a month of the hunt, Johnson found his second piece of evidence, a rather unusual feather. The feather was green, with orange, yellow, and reddish freckles. Johnson had never seen a feather anything like this before, so he went home, photographed it, and posted it on the same bird-watching site as before. Many thought the feather was fake, others thought it was real, yet Johnson would not be swayed. There was a new bird, it lived near him, and he was going to do something about it!

Johnson was once again thrust into a period of waiting. There were no more calls, no more feathers, nothing to prove the bird existed other than what Johnson already had. This continued for a long while, almost two months of nonstop nothing. Most people would have given up by this point, but Johnson was determined to find this bird, even if he was starting to go a little crazy. He wasn’t sleeping as much, he was abandoning some hobbies, and he was starting to smell a bit off. Johnson thought nothing of it, until one morning he got up and could barely move. Finally, Johnson decided that this was too much, and booked an appointment with his doctor. On the drive there, Johnson thought about the future, and what would happen after he found the bird. What would he do then? And what would his new goals be?

After a short drive, Johnson reached his doctor. After walking up the stairs and sitting in the waiting room for a bit, Johnson was finally called to go see his doctor. After explaining his plight and receiving a checkup, Johnson’s doctor gave his verdict. “You seem to be fatigued,” he noted. “Head home and get some rest for a day or two.” Johnson thanked the doctor and saw himself out. On the drive home Johnson knew that he might lose the bird if he “got some rest for a day or two,” so the doctor’s advice was out, and Johnson was going back to Anderson Park.

Johnson went back to the creek determined that he would find the bird. After just five minutes of searching, Johnson noticed an abundance of the strange feathers under a large tree. Johnson climbed up the tree with some effort and found … a model. A remarkably well-made papier-mâché bird covered in the strange feathers, sitting in a hand-made bird nest. Johnson noticed a speaker and turned it on, and heard the bird call he recorded to his phone almost a month ago. He picked the bird up and found a web address, which he put into his phone. The site was for an art project, talking about how the bird was the final project an art student had made for his class, and how it represented peoples’ effect on nature. This, Johnson decided, was enough, and it was time to get some sleep!