Sylvia’s feelings towards the stranger change through the story. At first, she is unnerved by the “aggressive” whistle which pierces the forest and is reminded of a boy who frightened her when she lived in the city.
She is also curious of the stranger: Sylvia and her grandmother do not see many people. She listens as her grandmother tells him of her skill with animals, and her attention in his bird collecting is aroused when he offers ten dollars for the location of the nest of the elusive white heron.
Sylvia is excited as she walks in the forest with the stranger, and she is greatly pleased with the gift of the jack knife. She finds a new passion developing in her, a womanly desire to please.
Despite her plan to reveal the secret of the nest to the stranger, her loyalty to her woodland counterparts prevents her from doing so. She remains a child of nature rather than a woman of the world.