Wow! This pet bird may have been the first White House pet

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Richard J. Adler publishes “White House Mockingbird”

Cover of "White House Mockingbird"

(SBPRA) — Bird lovers and history buffs can share both interests with their children through an illustrated children’s book.

“White House Mockingbird,” by Richard J. Adler, tells the story of how Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, kept a mockingbird as a pet in his study.

Although presidents before him also had pets, Jefferson is thought to be the first to have a pet that lived in the White House. Birds were his favorite animals. During his time in the White House, he wrote observations on the types of birds that he spotted in the area.

Dick the Mockingbird was the name of one of President Jefferson’s pet birds. Dick was just a fledgling when he fell out of his nest and was rescued by Anne, Jeff and Ellen Randolph, the president’s grandchildren. The children then sent Dick to live with their grandfather in Washington because, “It’s so lonely living in the White House.”

Told in the first person and through 22 beautiful illustrations, Dick the Mockingbird “makes learning fun as children get a bird’s-eye view of President Thomas Jefferson’s presidency,” said Robert Fletcher, CEO of Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency.

“White House Mockingbird” is available through Amazon ( and Barnes & Noble (

About the Author
Richard J. Adler lives in San Ramon, California with his wife and two sons. He graduated from University of California, Berkeley. He is an avid reader of history and biographies. Adler is also a self-taught artist. He spent many hours practicing and learning to draw and paint through trial and error.

Although he had a passion for creating art during his high school and college years, his artistic aspirations got pushed to the side when he pursued a career in the insurance industry and raised a family. He picked up the brush again only when he painted “Corsair Launch at Dawn” as a gift to his father-in-law, a Navy carrier pilot during the Korean War, on his 80th birthday.

Some of his art has since been exhibited at the George Krevsky Gallery in San Francisco.

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