When Birdie married James Cayton the forest ranger, she became a part of the Forest Service also—adopting an often rugged lifestyle, fulfilling agency obligations, and becoming part of its public image. Like many Forest Service wives, Birdie Cayton shared considerably in her husband’s duties. (And because she had no children, Birdie very likely participated to a greater degree than most.)

Birdie proudly told about helping “her Jim”: “Do you know I carried the hod, helped Jim lay the flooring, put up the ceiling [on the new guard station], helped surveying pastures and stringing barbed wire with wire on my saddle, climbed phone lines (I was a better climber than Jim)”. Birdie worked with Jim cutting timber on a two-man saw, rode with him, helped with clerical work and map making, carried survey chains up hills and through brush and mud, aided in planting seeds and trees, and a number of other jobs—including single-handedly repairing phone lines in his absence.

With Jim away from the guard station regularly for many days on end, Birdie took phone calls from ranchers and Forest Service officials, was the dispatcher when forest fires broke out, rode with Jim on his forest duties, and helped maintain the guard station. Thus Birdie became essentially an unpaid worker for the United States Forest Service.

Birdie was also well known for her hospitality among the rangers, their wives, and the ranching community. Hence, she was called by Jim’s friends the “Sweetheart of the Forest Service.” Birdie’s loyalty and efforts for the national forest lasted throughout her lifetime—beginning with her early life at Johnson Spring where she and Jim built their home/ranger station, and extending to her many letters and political activities in old age.