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Where Are All the Birds?

Updated on March 11, 2015

This story is written in response to a challenge by Jennifer Arnett (Availasvision). She posted the challenge in a forum, "Would you like to participate in a short story challenge?" Each of us will give our own interpretation of the picture in her post.


The Little Girl

All little girls love birds but this one had a special affinity for them. When she walked in the forest any nearby birds would fly by her and she would giggle at their presence. She loved to watch them fly, they were so graceful. She made sure to visit them at least once a day. When she put a bird feeder near her house they came and ate the seeds, sometimes there was only one bird, sometimes there were lots of birds, but no matter how many, they always came. Often they made nests in the trees behind her house. She loved watching the baby birds and waiting for them to be big enough to fly.

When her mother told her they were moving to the city her heart was broken. Where would she see her birds? There's no place for them in the city, at least she had never seen birds in pictures of the city. Her mother assured her there were birds in the city and she was sure to see them. She felt a little better but was still apprehensive.

The City

The little girl didn't really like the city. It was noisy and crowded all the time. Even at night she could hear the traffic outside her window and the bright lights shined in. She wondered how any birds could live here, where would they eat, where would they nest? Her mother took her to a nearby park and there they saw a few pigeons but no other birds. She looked everywhere but they just weren't around. She did like the park though, at least it had grass and trees.

She had brought one of her bird feeders from home but there really wasn't any place to put it. She looked all around the building they lived in but the only thing around was other buildings and lots of traffic. She couldn't imagine how you could hang a bird feeder here.

She met a little boy who lived in her building and wondered if he could help her find the birds. She told him her plight. At first he laughed but then he realized she was serious. She was really looking for birds.

The Little Boy

The little boy began thinking about the birds and realized he hadn't seen too many lately. As a matter of fact all he had seen were pigeons and not too many of them. That was really strange. The little girl and the little boy talked about the birds. They began looking in books and watching their neighborhood to see if there were any birds but the answer was always no, not even a feather. How could that be?

The little boy had lived in the city all his life and he was sure he had seen birds. He asked his father and his father laughed and told him there are birds everywhere, even in the city. This was now a puzzle to him so he told the little girl they could try to find the birds together and solve this puzzle. They would find clues and then find the birds, he was sure of it. He asked her if she brought any birdseed with her and she told him she had. They agreed to meet at the park the next day and sprinkle some birdseed to see what happened, after all birds like to eat birdseed.

They sprinkled the bird seed and waited but no birds came. He told her they might be in the wrong spot so they went to another place in the park and again sprinkled the birdseed. They sat very quietly and waited again. Still no birds. After several attempts they decided it might just be a bad bird day and they would come again tomorrow.

Where Are All the Birds?

They went to the park every day and every day they went deeper into the park hoping to find the birds. They sprinkled the bird seed and waited. Then they moved to another spot, sprinkled the bird seed and waited. They didn't find any birds but they did find an old park keeper's house. It was a stone building with a green tile roof. At least it had a green tile roof when it was new. Now it was all tarnished and brown looking. It had three doors. They could barely read the words on the doors. One door said "office", one said "bathrooms" and one said "maintenance. It was starting to get dark so they decided to come back the next day to check the building, after all, the building was spooky enough In the daylight, no reason to check it in the dark. That night the little boy asked his father about the building and he said it hadn't been used for years. City budget cuts had closed it down and he'd better stay away from it. Abandoned buildings are no place for children. Of course that made him want to go there even more!

The next morning the little girl and the little boy met so they could head to the park keeper's building. The little boy didn't tell the little girl what his father had said, he didn't want to scare her. They talked and laughed as they headed deeper into the woods of the park and toward the building. The little girl had remembered to bring her birdseed and sprinkled it everywhere in hopes a bird would come. After all, they hadn't seen any birds yet but this could be the day.

It was almost lunchtime by the time they reached the building but they weren't hungry, they were interested in the building and what might be inside. They looked all around the building but the few windows the building had were very high and they couldn't see in them. The little boy said he was going to try the doors. The little girl was afraid but didn't want the little boy to know so she said okay. They tried the office door but couldn't open it. Then they tried the maintenance door but couldn't open that either. The little girl was getting discouraged but the little boy said not to, there was one door left.

When they walked around to the other side of the building the door marked bathrooms was the only one there, alone in the back of the building. There was one window way up high that probably let some light into the bathroom. The little boy told the little girl the building had been abandoned for a long time so there was no telling what they would find inside. Animals could have gotten in so she had better let him go in first just to be safe. He didn't want her to know he was scared, after all he was a boy and she a girl.

He pushed the door. At first it didn't move, years of not being used had swelled the door making it hard to open. They decided to push together, each not wanting the other to know they were afraid, and slowly the door gave way. Since they were both pushing they both entered the bathroom at the same time. When they did they both screamed and ran out.

They were frightened by the writing on the bathroom door.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved


Did you think the little girl and little boy would find the birds?

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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      Thanks Shy. I would be heartbroken if our birds stopped coming. They are so relaxing to watch. Blessing and hugs right back to you my friend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Mary, I really thought they would find the birds. We have a feeder out side our window that use to be so full of birds that they were pushing each other off, but when they started clear cutting the property across the road from us the birds all disappeared and I think I feel pretty much the same way the little girl feels.

      Very interesting hub and I very much enjoyed reading it.

      Blessings and Hugs to you my dear friend.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Cornelia there are probably lots of people out there that feel the same way. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 

      4 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Great story full of mystery. I found I have many things in common with the girl who love birds and doesn't like cities :)

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Faith, as we know, children see many things we do not. So glad you enjoyed my version here. Your support through votes and shares is appreciated.

      He certainly was Manatita!

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Well, he was a Master! I saw a documentary on him once. Powerful!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Mary, you certainly built up much suspense and ended in a shocking revelation!

      I love Theodora's interpretation too, about the loss of innocence.

      Leave it to children to be the only ones who realizes there are no birds!

      A superb response to the challenge.

      Up awesome and interesting, tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Theodora what a beautiful interpretation of my story. It certainly does fit. Thank you for adding your wonderful thoughts.

      Uzochukwu, I believe she is right too.

    • Uzochukwu Mike profile image

      Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P 

      4 years ago from Oba

      Teodora, you are right by saying that the disappearing of the birds marks the end of childhood.

    • Teodora Gheorghe profile image

      Teodora Gheorghe 

      4 years ago

      Wonderfully creepy story! For me, the disappearance of the birds symbolizes the end of childhood... The children are looking for the birds (innocence), only to find themselves in a dark room, away from their dreams , greeted by the cold stare of maturity. Adults forget about many of the things that made them smile when they were kids... They grow out of the delight they once took in listening to birds chirping. They forget about the precious moments that made their hearts tremble with joy. Instead, they hide in their dark rooms of worries and fears.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Manatita. Can you tell I always loved Hitchock's stories?

      Thanks Deb. Glad it kept you interested. Sometimes it is hard to tell if what you write and think is interesting will actually be interesting to others.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      That was an interesting story. It kept me reading until the end!

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Interesting and beautiful piece with a twist at the end. Excellent work.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I know Chris, I can't even imagine! A world without birds would be a terrible thing, their colors, their songs, they give us so much.

      Glad you enjoyed my story.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Mary, Now I want to know what happened to the birds. I can't imagine a world without birds. Most of our interaction with wildlife is birds of one kind or another. Great job on the challenge. I enjoyed your story.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Ann that was certainly the impression of the writing on the door and I actually leave that up to the reader's imagination....Glad you enjoyed.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      I thought we were entering a 'birds extinct' scenario! Great ending; just the sort of thing to scare children, especially when they were apprehensive already.

      Original idea for your response to this challenge, Mary. Well done!


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Vellur, the writing on the door was part of the prompt in the challenge. I leave it up to the reader to decide what happens next. The novel is still in the works, thanks for asking.

      Patricia, at their age I think we all would have run! Blessings.

      Phyllis I love your ending, after all, who knows who wrote that message?

      No problem Kevin. When we write those polls we can't think of all the answers and once there are votes you really can't change the answers or you lose all the votes. Thanks for reading.

      You've given me something to think about Frank, imagine finding that in that bathroom? Great, scary mind you have there Frank.

      Peg, you know every story has a tale behind it!

      Thanks Bill, the edge of the seat is a good place!

      Jennifer, that comment coming from you is certainly a compliment! Thank you.

      Happy to scare you peachpurple.

      True Sha, are the birds okay? Abandoned buildings always hold such surprises, not often good ones.

      Happy you enjoyed Uzochukwu and even happier you read it!

    • Uzochukwu Mike profile image

      Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P 

      4 years ago from Oba

      The girl is a true lover of birds. Nice and cool hub.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Spooky, Mary! Will we ever know what happened to the birds? I'll bet those kids think twice before entering another abandoned building!

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow, the ending is scary, wonderful hub.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 

      4 years ago from California

      Mary, what an awesome use of suspense. The end was like watching a horror movie...waiting to see what is behind the door.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. Wow, what an ending. I didn't see that coming. You had me on the edge of my seat. Great job.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Adventure, mystery and intrigue, I sure didn't think the story would end that way. Quite an interesting twist, Mary. Sad but there's a deeper meaning behind it that really tells the tale.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      wow I only got to Jodah's version.. and they are equally enjoyable..but this one might as well come with movie tickets as a bonus feature.. I thought I was going to be standing in a rancid mess that smelled of decaying birds..LOL naw kidding love your style

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      This is the first response to the challenge which I have seen, and read, Mary. I thought it was cute(?) but I did not expect it to end like it did. When I went to your poll I was ready to say "I do not know" or something in that area. Nothing fit so I did not vote. I voted the Hub up, shared and pinned it.


    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Mary. Very interesting story. That sign inside must have really scared the wits out of them. I do believe that if this story continues, the boy and girl will find birds and maybe even start an aviary in the park. Yep - I love to imagine ...

      Great hub to contribute to the challenge. I really enjoyed it.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 years ago from sunny Florida

      O my...I think I would have reacted just as they did.

      Well done...enjoyed reading this...

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      A great response to a great challenge. Enjoyed the story, I wonder what happened in the end. I am sure they found the birds with all their efforts. What was the writing on the mirror, very curious. Hope you have published your novel! Great write, voted up!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Ruby, I love it too. Sometimes when a story is all tidied up at the end it's forgettable too!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Wow, another hanging story! The suspense was gripping as the children looked for the birds. I love this kind of story, short and leaves one thinking, what? Enjoyable read, Mary.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks DJ. I am just the opposite of you, more like your neighbor was, I love birds. Besides my outside feeders I have a cockatiel but I keep the poop and birdseed cleaned up, I don't want to attract any rodents.

      Glad you liked my story. I hope they won't be afraid of bathrooms for life, imagine!

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 

      4 years ago

      Very good write concerning the missing birds.

      Any time there are children, abandoned buildings and squeaking doors,

      you can bet your bottom dollar that something bad in lurking near by.

      And, you found it!!! Those poor kids will be scared for life. They may

      never be able to go to the bathroom again! LOL

      Mary, this is a beautiful write. I happen to be one of those people

      that could live the rest of my life without hearing another bird. Back home, my English neighbor has bird feeders. The flying little critters

      eat at her deck and then immediately come to my deck to poop. It is

      not a pretty sight!

      Nice article, Mary.


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks for being the first to comment John and for the vote up. This one sort of wrote itself....the little girl and little boy were there so I had to build a story around them.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Cool response to the challenge Mary. I enjoyed the read and the mystery of the missing birds. Voted up.


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