McLean Mystery Bird Sign Scavenger Hunt

Buckle up McLean and surrounding DMV residents, I’ve got the perfect rainy day, pandemic boredom activity you can complete from the safety of your car. (Scroll Down for contest rules and a list of bird signs to find.)

For years someone has been mounting animal (birds, mostly) shapes to road signs and trees in Mclean. Years ago I wrote about it. (See past post.) As time has passed I’ve watched as some signs were lost due to weather, road improvements, removal, or perhaps theft—if something left in public and illegally mounted which is then taken can be construed as theft?? That’s a thought for another article. Of recent, the number of signs has increased, or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention for a while. Whatever the case there are a lot more of them, and the artisan has added a few designs to the mix, and improved the construction of these little works of art. He or she has switched to using painted, machine metal rather than wood, which was the material of choice in years past. Many of the wooden signs deteriorated and have been lost. In particular, there was an owl that I loved seeing. (Not going to tell you where it was.) I might also add, this person has some climbing ability because some of these mounts are not easily reached. There are also signs related to breast cancer awareness and snowflake shapes that may or may not be from the same person, but I haven’t included them.

Fast forward to now, we’re all stuck at home watching way too much Netflix, Tiger King and various other forms of sociopathy.  I”ve counted 24 signs in the McLean/Great Falls, VA area.  I’ve listed them with photos below. 

So, here is my challenge . . . hop in your car and start driving around McLean and start chasing the winged and other mounted creatures.  The first three people who successfully complete all directions in their entirety will win a landscape canvas from my collection.  Here are the rules to participate:

Contest/Scavenger Hunt Rules:

  1. Like the scavenger hunt photo and follow @amylinndoherty Instagram page (Go to Instagram page @amylinndoherty to complete this item.)
  2. Tag three friends in the comments of the same Instagram photo as #1.
  3. Scroll down to view a list of all the mounted creatures and their photos.
  4. Send me an email describing locations of the mounted creatures (use nearby streets and crossings and landmarks to describe locations, NOT GPS coordinates) in the same order as they are presented below (Scroll down to see the list.). Send email description to me at along with your Instagram handle identifying yourself by midnight of April 25, 2020.
  5. No posting PLEASE of locations anywhere by anyone allowed during contest timeframe or the contest instantaneously ends with no winners and no prizes.
  6. Entries must be received by midnight of April 25, 2020
  7. Entrants must be a resident of Virginia, Maryland or D.C.
  8. First three to successfully complete these directions in their entirety will receive a free, signed canvas from my landscape canvas collection. I will choose the canvas, sorry. Must provide address within VA, MD, DC for shipping of canvas.

NOTE: There are more butterflies not included on the list. The objective is to find the figures on my list. There are visual clues to make sure you are identifying the right one. I’m certain there may be some that I’ve missed out there. Feel free to point those out, but the objective is find the ones on the list below.

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Instagram.

Winners will be announced directly.


Some birds of a feather like to cluster together and some do not

But all the birds and creatures of metal are located in McLean or Great Falls

Some hit close to home, to whose I cannot say

As a poet once stated many will take a path well travelled but some will take a path less worn

Sometimes they are so obvious they are invisible, which makes the hunt irresistible.

Be safe and be well if you partake in this adventure.  Two make better the hunt, one to drive and one, two, three to spy.

  1. Salamander-

2 Cardinal—

  1. Butterfly—
  1. Cardinal—
  1. Cardinal—
  1. Cardinal–
  1. Blue Bird—
  1. Cardinal—
  1. Butterfly—
  1. Red Headed Woodpecker—
  1. Hummingbird—
  1. Dragon Fly—There’s more than one of these. Just give me one location.
  1. Butterfly—
  1. Blue Bird—
  1. Butterfly—
  1. Cardinal–
  1. Butterfly—I’m fairly confident this figure isn’t made by the same person, but I included it because I’ve enjoyed it over the years.
  1. Blackbird–
  1. Blue Bird—
  1. Cardinal—
  1. Hummingbird—
  1. Yellow Bird—
  1. Cardinal—
  1. Yellow Bird—

Published by Pawpro Media Photography and Video Production and Travel Content

Amy Doherty is a Washington, DC Area based photography and video production professional and owner of Pawpro Media, a creative media solutions company. Pawpro focuses on providing high quality, photography, video, and time-lapse content for Websites and other social media endeavors . VA, MD, DC Additionally, Amy is an outdoor, travel enthusiast. who seeks out national parks and other natural settings for landscape and wildlife photography projects.

Would love to hear from you.

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