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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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 7-13: Seán

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

Kate  Catching Some Rays  Seán

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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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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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   Little Paintings: Robin in the Bath

Seán and I have recently been scheming new ways to creatively capture scenes around the Hill, so I halved some card-paper offcuts I got from an art store. Now we have a nice stack of 3x3.5'' pieces that we're gradually making into tiny paintings.

One of my first attempts is a common sight around here: a fluffed-up, staring robin soaking in the bath:

robin bath in hand

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Kate   Pollinators 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   Signs of Spring  Kate

As spring comes to a close, we thought we'd celebrate the shifting of seasons by sharing the gallery we've been assembling (~60mb) which showcases some of the myriad expressions of life which we've witnessed around Humm Hill this time of year. And while summer may be dawning across our hemisphere, we look forward to continuing to share and reflect upon these scenes in the months to come.

While you explore our noticings, you may also enjoy listening to this field recording taken here one rainy morning earlier this spring:

How many different bird calls do you hear? For the answer, read the description.