Go Ask Mom

Local family's 'Happy the Birthday Bird' takes flight

A boy's excitement over his eighth birthday sparked a local family to come up with a new birthday tradition for their own family and others, they hope, around the country and the world.

Posted Updated

Kathy Hanrahan
, WRAL lifestyle editor
RALEIGH, N.C. — If you are missing your Elf on a Shelf, a special birthday bird might be in order for your family.
Monica Goodson, CD Strong and their son, Mylen, launched Happy the Birthday Bird about two years ago.
In 2020, Go Ask Mom interviewed Goodson about the project, which came from Mylen's excitement over his eighth birthday.

"On Mylen’s eighth birthday, he woke up very excited, with a big smile on his face and eyes bright with joy. He was so happy that he began flapping his arms, singing, and dancing around the room like a little bird," Goodson said. "His father commented that he looked like a birthday bird. This magical birthday moment sparked the seed of an idea that hatched! We started brainstorming that day how it would be exciting for kids to have a tradition where a special, magical birthday character visits each year to help celebrate their birthdays."

Similar to Elf on a Shelf, the bird comes with a book and visits the family every year to celebrate the child's birthday. It is available in 13 specialty stores across the country and on Amazon.com.

Since launching, the company has received the 2020 National Parenting Product Award (NAPPA) and 2020 The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval.

Last year, the company was a Top 100 finalist for the FedEX Small Business Grant Contest and was featured in Parents Magazine.

Monica Goodson and Mylen Strong, co-creators of Happy the Birthday Bird (Courtesy: Monica Goodson​)

Happy the Birthday Bird was also the recipient of three grants - The New Voices and Target Accelerator Grant, Amazon Black Business Accelerator Grant and the Bunker Lab and Ford Motor Co. Foundation Grant.

Goodson said the company plans to use the money to help grow the business, which could include additional characters, toys, games and apps.

The family is working on a 3D augmented reality experience of their book can be accessed via a mobile app.

Mylen turns 13 in February and become a more than just the inspiration for the birthday bird. He is actively involved in coming up with new ideas for the business, Goodson said.

Monica Goodson and Mylen Strong, co-creators of Happy the Birthday Bird (Courtesy: Monica Goodson​)

Goodson said Mylen's birthday is also a day when the family will give away sets of "Happy the Birthday Bird" for free to children in need.

"We make birthday parties in a bag for children above 8 years old," Goodson said, noting that they work with a local nonprofit. The tradition began last year and the family hopes to continue it for many years go come.


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