Hummingcrow & Co.

birds

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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Seán   #Meanwhile

A thirsty female rufous hummingbird A thirsty rufous hummer (Selasphorus rufus) returns from her long-distance journey.

April 8, '10: Hummingbirds thick as wasps at feeders this pm -
20 rufous + Annas swarm at dusk
April 11, '04: 'a hummbird wades into bird bath & takes a bath like a robin'



Kate  #Meanwhile

crossbills A conga line of colourful crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) descend upon our bird bath.

March 25, '02: Swallows look in new house

🌱 Sounds of the first spring morning 🎶

Birds in this recording, as identified by Kate:

American Robins, Common Ravens, Pacific Wren, Rooster, California Quail, Dark-eyed Juncos, Gulls (Glaucous-winged?), Anna’s Hummingbirds, Northwestern Crows, Pine Siskin, Downy Woodpecker? (drum), Spotted Towhee, Northern Flicker

~13 Species in 14 minutes

Kate  New Year, New Nectar

Here on Hummingbird Hill, one of our most important duties is to keep the hummers happy. We have a handful of hummers year-round who regularly come to sip the sweet stuff from our two saucer-style feeders. When we were still new at it, we found it difficult to remember which of us changed the nectar last and when. This resulted in confusion and—more importantly—the potential risk of unhappy hummers.

So, I came up with a solution.

Enter: Nectar Refresh Schedule!

hhhummers banner

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Kate  Field Notes from Japan (日本からのフィールドノート)   Seán

こんばんは!

This week marks the 36th anniversary of Hummingbird Hill, and soon we'll officially be back in Metchosin to reflect, reorient, and prepare for the future. We have exciting plans for the new year, and will be busily laying the groundwork for the next chapter of Hummingcrow & Co. through the winter. We'll have a bit more to share on that front in our next post, but before we take a break? from our exploration of 日本, we thought we'd share a field report from our digital studies of two species which have delighted us over the past several weeks.


Kate head ~ Kate (ケイト): Hummingbird hawk-moth

rufous hummer vs hawk moth 「ハチドリ VS ホウジャク」illustration by Kate (ケイト)

While researching different 鳥 (birds) in Japan, we wondered if there was anything similar to a ハチドリ (hummingbird) there. Well, we discovered that they don’t have hummingbirds, but they do have amazing hummingmoths, known as 蜂雀 (literally “bee sparrow”) or hummingbird hawk-moth in English. The two of them are a case of convergent evolution— unrelated species in different places evolving similar traits to adapt to similar conditions—sharing the same hovering method and sipping nectar from flowers, pollinating along the way.

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Seán   🍁「 楓蔦黄 」🍂  Kate

Shifting seasons Lying down on a clear, windy day in October to enjoy the vibrant leaves' final dance of the year. The oaks are already looking winter-ready.

こんいちは!

In addition to being Bandcamp Friday (you can peruse our Hummingtunes 五 list here), today marks the end of the traditional Japanese 'microseason' (kō) of 楓蔦黄 (when frost descends, and maple & ivy leaves turn yellow). Soon we'll have an update about our trip, but first we thought we'd squeeze in a few irregular updates from October (十月) about various goings on both around the Hill and beyond.

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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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Seán ☀️ End-of-Summer Summary 🍂 Kate

oak leaf gradient

Now that two weeks of dense smoke have given way to both rain and blue sky in our region, an immense sigh of relief has swept across the land and through our bodies here atop the hill just in time for the autumnal equinox. We've also been treated to a flurry of bird activity over the past few days, as flocks of many species hop happily amongst the oaks and grasses, foraging and chittering after so many stressful stuffy days. The return of our Steller's jays, towhees, and robins signifies a much-awaited shifting of the seasons.

To be sure, summer brought energizing light and splashes of delight to hazy times, but the parting curtains of golden-brown leaves offer an opportunity for rejuvenation, deceleration, and transition. We'll have some big announcements to make about our autumn plans soon...

But before we wave goodbye to the last beams of the summer sun, we thought we'd take a bit of time to step back and reflect upon various happenings around the Hill during this year's dry months.

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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 4)! 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.