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Draw a Picture of a Bird Day

According to numerous online sources, 7-year-old Dorie Cooper visited her uncle in a hospital in England in 1943, after his right leg had been destroyed by a landmine in World War II and had to be amputated. He was not in good spirits, and in an effort to cheer him up, Dorie asked him to draw a bird for her. He drew a robin that he saw outside his hospital window. Dorie told him the picture wasn't very good, but that she would hang it up at home, which cheered him up. Bird drawing contests began being held whenever Dorie returned to the hospital, which lifted the spirits of her uncle and the other soldiers on the ward. After a few months, bird drawings covered the walls of the ward.

Tragically, Dorie was struck by a car three years later and died. Her coffin was filled with bird pictures drawn by the soldiers, nurses, and doctors from her uncle's ward. The cohort began drawing pictures of birds on Dorie's birthday, April 8, each year, to honor the joy she had brought to the ward during wartime. It became known as Draw a Picture of a Bird Day and spread around the world after being embraced by the soldiers and health workers who knew Dorie, and by their families. It became a day to express joy in the simple pleasures of life and to help soldiers forget their troubles, if only for a little while.

How to Observe Draw a Picture of a Bird Day

Draw a bird for someone close to you who you care for. You could also draw one for a soldier, or even for an injured soldier, just as Dorie did. You could ask the person you draw a bird for to draw a bird for you, too. Another idea is to hold a bird drawing contest and get a whole group of people together to draw birds. You could organize this at your school, at work, or at another place where you are with a large group of people. While the pictures of the birds you draw don't need to be professional-looking, you could use the day to focus on improving your drawing skills. In an effort to do so, you could pick up a book like Drawing Birds by John Busby, Drawing Birds with Colored Pencils by Karen Poole, or The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds by John Muir Laws.

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