Hummingcrow & Co.

birds

Seán   World Migratory Bird Day Spotlight: Rocky Point Bird Observatory  Kate

World Migratory Bird Day is upon us once again, as many of our feathered friends prepare to embark on their journeys across vast, treacherous autumnal flyways, connecting communities and ecosystems around the world (while we humans continue to manage our zugunruhe). In honour of this auspicious occasion, we thought we'd take some time to spotlight our incredible local bird observatory, where we've previously had the opportunity to participate in their migration monitoring and saw-whet owl migration programs.

Swainson's Thrush A very soft and warm swainson's thrush being held gently by Kate

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Kate Hummingtunes IV  Seán

If you missed the previous editions of Hummingtunes, you can find them here: I, II, III.

Singing junco

Bandcamp Friday is upon us once again (Sept 3)! For today's edition, we've decided to keep things short and sweet by sharing a list of songs related to one of our favourite subjects—which may shock you—birds! Feathered friends have always served as a natural source of inspiration for composers and songwriters, so there was, unsurprisingly, no shortage of avian-influenced tracks for us to choose from on Bandcamp. We hope you'll enjoy these selections—instrumental and otherwise—from fellow bird-noticing artists we admire. We also invite you to join us in picking up some wholesome tunes this time 'round & supporting some talented music-makers in the process!

Tracks 1-7: Kate⎛⦾⩥ 🎵 ⪪⊝⎞ Tracks 7-14: Seán

p.s. You can find more tunes that we've been humming in our Are.na jukebox.

Kate  Catching Some Rays

On a particularly hot, sunny day earlier this summer, I was out identifying plants in the garden when, rounding a bend, I was met with this sight on a mossy mound of rock near the bird bath:

robins sunning

They were absolutely still, frozen in their respective poses:

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Seán   Who Needs a TV When You Have a Bird Bath?  Kate

As the beaming rays of the summer sun begin to broil our hilltop habitat, rarely a minute of the day ticks by without some feathered visitor or other seeking a sip or a swim at our weather-worn stone basin. But a bird bath is far more than just a small pool of water providing relief for panting beaks – it's a crossroads of avian activity which sets the stage for all sorts of stories to unfold, featuring familiar characters, surprise guests, and thrilling plot twists.

Here's a sampling of the many fine programs on offer through BB-TV in case you're considering subscribing:

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Kate  Quinton the Quail... & Co!  Seán

One sunny afternoon in early July, we took a peek down our slope to find Quinton staring warily at us, seemingly on guard:

quinton watch

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Kate   Pollinator Week: Got Nectar?

Looks like someone's had a busy day of pollinating while filling up on the sweet stuff!

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Seán   Bewick's Bird Card + Farewell-to-Spring  Kate

Bewick's wren illustration Wren by Seán, environment by Kate

We're so happy and honoured to have had the opportunity to join a community of artists and naturalists from around our region once again in highlighting 36 of our avian neighbors for the latest set of Art Bird Cards. This was a great opportunity for us to continue honing our digital art skills and we learned a lot in the process of collaborating on this illustration of a Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii)—a year-round resident here atop Humm Hill.

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Kate 🎶  On Sunday She Left Us A Cherry  🎵Seán

On Sunday she left us a cherry On Saturday: water-logged bread On Friday she left us most of a rat On Thursday: a snake with no head

A corvid is feeding her offspring Each afternoon, soaking their food To some birds, the bath is for bathing But for Raven, it helps feed her brood

On Wednesday she left us cat kibble On Tuesday: a handful of rice On Monday she left us some swollen dog food A week’s worth of leftovers— nice

A corvid comes by, on a mission Each afternoon, feeding her brood To some birds, the bath is for bathing But for Raven: a sink for her food

On Monday she left us another bird’s claw On Tuesday: some limp deli meat On Wednesday she left us a ratty mouse tail On Thursday: a peanut-shell treat

A corvid comes by, on a mission Each afternoon, soaking her food To some birds, the bath is for bathing But for Raven, it helps feed her brood

On Friday she left us a snail shell On Saturday: bits of fish skin On Sunday she left us a chicken leg-bone And soon she'll surprise us again   Read on to reveal the inspiration for this bird bath ballad (warning – if you're squeamish about dismembered animal bits, don't scroll all the way to the end).  

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Kate  #Meanwhile

A robin alerts its kin of danger from a lichen-laden perch

May 26, '12: robin with mouth full of worms lands on my head

Kate   Happy World Migratory Bird Day!   Seán

This year, our local bird observatory are hosting the first annual Victoria Bird Week! We're looking forward to filling out our Bird Bingo card over the feather-ful days ahead and attending some of the fascinating talks. Meanwhile, here are some charming migratory birds we've been noticing on the hill today:

  Chipping sparrow (short-distance migrant) preening after a bath

  Violet-green swallow (medium- to long-distance migrant) spotted house-hunting through one of our feather friendly windows

  Rufous hummingbirds (long-distance migrant) [see also: last year's post]

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