Bird songs in the big, hollow tree

Huge thanks to the seven enthusiastic people curious enough to come and sing bird songs with us in the hollow tree on Sunday.

 

It was at least as much fun as our last bird chorale. While we were all fully committed to singing the songs as written, we were also laughing with joy.

We sang two recent compositions: The West End Bird Song composed by Cathy, based on birds heard during our walk around lost lagoon, and the Dusk Chorus in Renfrew Ravine, based on our walk with Rob Butler in the ravine on May 15.

We were just the right number of people to fit comfortably in a circle inside the tree, and it was good that we were only scheduled for half an hour, as our presence interrupted a steady (and I mean steady) stream of people stopping to do portraits inside the tree.

You’re invited to bring your own bird song compositions to the next session, scheduled for July 25 at the Coal Harbour Community Centre, 7 – 8:30 pm!

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Migratory bird puppet making

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My those Birds in Residence have been very busy!

Our new favourite thing to do might be the Bird Song Chorale, singing bird songs in a choir with humans…”cheerio! Cheerily! Cheerio!  Pip!  Chickadeeee deee deee deee deee deee.  Chickadeee deee deee” 

We had so much fun being part of Art In The City on May 5, where we invited everyone to learn about their favourite birds.

Cedar waxwing

Kids, parents, and bird fans of all ages joined us in our exploration of birds, creating bird puppets out of newspaper, masking tape, tissue paper and white glue, and then learning their songs.  Beautiful creations!  Together, we made about 24 birds: blackbird, goldfinch, cedar waxwing, Anna’s hummingbirds ( 2 of them!), a bushtit and an eagle, to name a few. There was also an exotic bird from South America that, it turned out, makes a sound like a dog barking!

A scientist from the Stanley Park Nature House joined us and helped people learn interesting facts about their birds, their flight patterns, distinctive markings and migration range.

20180505_162100And then we set out on a parade:  9 kids with birds they created, fluttering through the main gallery, tweeting the songs of their birds!   Everyone applauded. It was extremely charming and up lifting.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated!

Field notes: Dawn chorus

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Paula’s report on the dawn chorus adventure…

On Sunday, we got up early for the dawn chorus.  We weren’t sure who would show up, but happily we were a group of 9, including Andrew Huang, our bird expert.  Andrew works for Canadian Wildlife Services and volunteers at WildResearch.  He helped us identify the birds we were hearing: in the pre dawn (it was still very dark at 5 am!) we could hear a white crown sparrow, it’s musical song amplified by the buildings around us.  We heard a robin (“cheerio cheerily cheerio!”) and a spotted towhee.

As we neared the lagoon in Stanley park, more birds greeted us: gulls, of course, and redwing blackbirds.  By the lagoon we heard swallows, a woodpecker in the distance, and a rather loud and talkative Canada Goose.  Three or four gaggles of baby geese trailed across our path, and in the denser forest we began to hear the warblers and the wrens.

I’m afraid I was maybe a little too chirpy, inclined as I was to sing back the song of every bird I heard.  I’m going to try very hard to just listen next Wednesday, May 16, when we take a walk to listen to the Dusk Chorus!  Join us if you like, in the park behind Barclay Manor at 8pm.

Two great meet & tweets!

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Thanks so much to everyone who came out to Coal Harbour and the West End Community Centres yesterday to meet the Birds in Residence. We loved meeting you and sharing our love for our local birds.

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Together we talked about birds we’ve seen and made little paper birds to add to the beginnings of our local bird map. Be sure to join us on April 28 for a day of bird walks and habitat mapping (details here!).

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Last but not least, a huge thanks to our friends from the Stanley Park Ecology Society who spent the day with us and answering endless birdy questions. You’re the best!

Meet & Tweet this Wednesday!

RobiSmith_nest_drawingOn Wednesday, Feb 28, come and meet your Birds in Residence, the new artists in residence for Coal Harbour Community Centre, West End Community Centre, and Barclay Manor!

  • 11 am – 1 pm: Coal Harbour Community Centre – main lobby
  • 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm: West End Community Centre – main lobby

We’re excited to meet you and hear your bird stories—which birds have you seen in the neighbourhood? Have you found a beautiful feather or heard a mysterious bird call? We’ll have a large map for you to add your bird sightings and knowledge to, colourful paper for making bird art, and examples of the kinds of projects we’ll be working on this year as we get to know the birds around us.

All ages and abilities welcome!

Sunday morning bird walk

On Sunday morning, Paula joined the Stanley Park Nature House’s monthly “Birds of a Feather” walk to get to know some of the birds out and about these days. Here’s her report:

Had a beautiful walk around lost lagoon this morning on one of Stanley Park Nature House’s “birds of a feather” walks. We saw some dark eyed junkos—they’ll be heading out in a month or so and we won’t see them again until October! That was true for a few of the others we saw though I didn’t remember them all. We saw: anna’s hummingbirds, and song sparrows and fox sparrows and a spotted towhee. We saw lots of black capped and chestnut chickadees, three herons, some american coots oh and some common and barrows goldeneye and some widgeons too, I think. Some Canada Geese nesting high up in dead trees, and some mergansers. I forget which ducks were nesting in trees. We ended up at the devonian pond, hoping to see some redwinged black birds, but they had moved on (they must have all been up at comox & nichola where I came across a few holly trees just filled with trilling redwing black birds!)

What an exciting morning. Thanks for an informative walk, Else!

PS I don’t have a suitable camera for capturing the birds up close, but here is a picture of a little snow capped chickadee I made!

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Hello birds! We can’t wait to meet you!

Photo: Great Blue Heron stilt dancers, Leif Saba (left) and Savannah Walling (right), in “By the River” (dir. by James F. Tait), Runaway Moon Theatre

Calling all birds and bird watchers, listeners and wonderers in the West End and Coal Harbour!

Over the coming year, join us on bird discovery walks around the neighbourhood, looking for birds and nests and feathers and mapping our findings. We’ll observe birds closely to see how they communicate using their bodies and voices, and then try to emulate them. You’ll be invited to make a bird mask and costume, a puppet or two, learn bird calls that speak to you, and flock together in a parade.

yellow bird puppet

Each of us who make up the Birds in Residence artist team (Paula, Carmen, Cathy and Robi) is in awe of birds… flight! feathers! beaks! bird calls and songs! wing patterns! colours! flight paths! (You can learn more about us over on the Artists page.)

We are so excited to begin this year-long journey of discovery together.

Stay tuned for details about upcoming workshops and events.

Until soon,

Your birds in residence

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