This letter is for the birds

The most bird-stacked OOO you've ever received

Welcome to At The End Of The Day. If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of news, this letter is for you. ATEOD letter is about perspective on what matters most at the end of the day. I’m Hannah Sung and I’m so glad you’re here.

If this is your first time checking in, that’s interesting timing because I am on vacation! But I’ve created an out-of-office by putting together a special “Stop to smell the roses and listen to birds” edition of ATEOD letter.

If you’ve been reading since I launched in March, just as COVID-19 began changing everything, you know that when my kids stopped going to school, my 9-year-old son became obsessed with birds. We’ve been talking about flickers, peregrine falcons and cedar waxwings ever since.

I hope you also have a reason (or a tiny person who forces you) to get outside and lose track of time. For the purpose of this newsletter, I’m calling my son Tokki (which means “rabbit” in Korean). I took this pic of him in his element, below. All the bird photos were taken by Tokki and we selected them together.

The artist at work with his point-and-shoot at one of his favourite spots in Toronto

ATEOD: Can you tell me about how you first became interested in birdwatching?

TOKKI: Well, it started at COVID when like, you had to stay in your house, right at the very beginning. Birds started showing up in my backyard. And they just got me interested.

ATEOD: Tell us what you love about birds.

TOKKI: I love that they can fly. I wish I could fly like them.

ATEOD: What does it take to be good at birdwatching?

TOKKI: Well, you don't have to pass any tests or anything. You could be anywhere in the world. If you stand still and listen, you’re gonna hear the birds. Maybe you could have binoculars to see them. And that's how you do it.

ATEOD: Can you tell me some of your favourite birds?

TOKKI: I like the black-crowned night heron, the ostrich. I love the peacock and the emu. I really like the peregrine falcon, the bohemian waxwing and all its colours. I like all the birds with special dances and displays, like the bird of paradise. I've always wanted to see one of those.

Take a bird break

Baby red-winged black birds

Mute swan, female

Cardinal, male

Northern yellow-shafted flicker, male

Golden eagle

Red-tailed hawk, male (“Mommy, you love these puffy pants” — This is true)

While I’m on vacation, I’m trying to relax but I’m also staying up on developments with back-to-school. What Ontario has announced just can’t be what we see in reality this September. For a primer on exactly how inadequate this roll-out is, please read this great summation and petition (sign and share if you like — I’m on the fence about the efficacy of petitions myself, but I will do and say anything to help move the needle on this incredibly unsafe “plan” to keep class sizes at pre-COVID-19 status quo).

If you want to vent about what you’d like to see in back-to-school plans in your own community, I’m always listening.

I’d love to hear from you. Hit reply to write me back or leave a comment.


Thank you for reading,


What I’m reading:

Triangulating Evidence on Outbreaks in Kid Settings, Parent Data newsletter by Emily Oster.

Lockdown worked for the rich but not for the poor. The untold story of how COVID-19 spread across Toronto, in 7 graphics, Toronto Star.

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