Hummingcrow & Co.

spring

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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Seán   Artistic Inspiration: Drift Body

Drift Body Zine

My friend Scott recently started publishing a beautiful quarterly zine series called Drift Body filled with wholesome, enchanting original poetry & prose alongside inscriptions from ancient Orphic tablets. I recently received the first issue and carried it with me down to the water below one of my favourite nearby wandering areas, Fort Rodd Hill, to read alongside a couple of old birthday cards & writings that my grandfather sent me two decades ago.

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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: The ants go marching... with larvae  Seán

Millions of female worker ants carry the queen's larvae through a vast, treacherous landscape (known to us as 'the garden'). Watch them go...

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Seán   Web Reads: Free wild birds & Creative processes  Kate

Seán ~ Have You Seen This Bird

Being a full-time internet nature artist is great, weird, and lonely. This bird project felt more like being together than making art and I, who have never been up to the task of any sort of self-imposed daily practice, took dozens of pictures every day, sharing them with my internet friends. My friends became his friends, and I think caring about him became a way for them to care about me.

Elisabeth Nicula

I came upon this heartfelt and entertaining essay about a city-dwelling human's friendship with Frank the scrub-jay through Robin Sloan's newsletter. Elisabeth does a fantastic job interweaving the emotion and humor of befriending free wild birds, and inspires me to want to write about my friendship with Patience—the only crow that I ever named, and who the stamp which serves as my bird-avatar here is based upon. Maybe at some point I'll post the results on this blog...

(On a side note: As I was reading Elisabeth's story, I realized that I've encountered parts of it before through her great dioramas.space project.)

See also: Frank's Corpus
Kate head ~ On the pleasures of a creative practice that is uniquely your own

A funny coincidence: I was starting to put together a post about two sleepy juvenile ravens (stay tuned!) when I got side-tracked reading an interview on The Creative Independent (“a growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people” that I check occasionally). Its title (above) caught my eye, 'cause I've been pondering my own creative practice around playing piano. It ended up being an interview with composer and keyboardist Roger O’Donnell (of The Cure), who happens to have just released a beautiful piano album, called—get this—2 Ravens. Full circle! I love stuff like that.

A bit from the interview:

It’s that abstract part of creativity that really interests me. When things are just flying around in your head and coming out. That’s what I find most interesting.

It’s when you have to make it palatable or understandable to other people that it becomes mundane. We all have these visions and sounds in our heads that are absolutely fantastic and amazing, but you then have to make them understandable to other people.

— Roger O'Donnell

More musings:

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Seán   Secret of the ghost swing

Trumpet Honeysuckle - 20.5.15

Known in some Salishan languages as the 'swing of the ghost' (or of the owl: q’ít’əәʔəәtsəәspəәlqwít’thəәʔ), this beautiful western trumpet honeysuckle provides food and shelter for at least 20 bird species in our area, and is also frequented by swallowtail butterflies. Likewise, amongst hominids, its nectar has served as a natural treat for children, its leaves and bark used for medicine, and its stems for building bridges.

Trumpet Honeysuckle - 20.5.15

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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

Seán   Hummingtunes  Kate

This is the first in a series of Bandcamp Friday posts – you can view the rest here.

Arbutus Squisher - 20.5.12

In light of Bandcamp's wonderful, now-monthly tradition of waiving revenue fees—which resulted in $4.3 million worth of sales directly supporting musicians the first time they did it, and $7.1 million the second time—we thought it would be nice to share some purchasable songs that have been vibrating through our heads lately.

Given that it has become 'normal' for musicians to be paid $0.00331 per Spotify stream, it's extremely heartening to see a platform which aspires to convince people to actually buy music to support the livelihoods of lovely, talented artists.

Bandcamp's next revenue-fee-free day is on August 6th, so mark your calendars!

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Seán   Weed-of-the-Week: Stinky Bob

Stinky Bob - 20.5.13

Although weeding is a daily duty here, we've started a weekly tradition called Weeding Wednesday during which we each spend a focused chunk of 水曜日 crawling around the Hill pulling Undesirable Plants to make room for greater biodiversity. In light of this new custom, I thought I'd take some time to research one of the weeds that I've been focusing on today:

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