Pish & Twitch, Brendan Murtha (l) and Caleb Frome (r), rock the house ©George Armistead
The ABA, with vital support from Leica Sport Optics and other generous donors, conducted two summer camps for young birders in the last month. I was truly fortunate to spend time with both groups and I wish the entire birding community could have joined us to see and feel the energy, excitement, commitment, and enthusiasm that the kids and their adult guides brought to these events. If you're ever feeling a bit down in the mouth about the state of the world, I recommend birding with kids as a potent corrective.
I started to make a list of just a very few highlights from the camps to give you a quick sketch of the range of experiences we all shared but soon abandoned the effort as there's so much material that mentioning some means leaving too much out. But I will say that the camps offered an incredibly diverse range of experiences from serious and cerebral to fun and physical, all centered around building the practice and community of birding.
If you haven't looked at Bill Schmoker's post here from earlier today, do so. It has links to some wonderful photos and video that will give you a great overview of Camp Avocet.
There is one thing I do want to share one thing with you, that I hope you'll get a big kick out of. A couple of the campers at Camp Avocet, Caleb Frome and Brendan Murtha, surprised us one afternoon by telling us that they had formed a band and that they had written some songs about birding.
Billing themselves as Pish & Twitch, Brendan and Caleb, with assistance from William von Herff, proceeded to delight the entire camp group by performing 3 song parodies with the lyrics reworked to joke about the joys and travails of birding. They were so good that we demanded they do it again the next night and give us another chance at recording them.
They obliged, this time performing no less than five songs! Once again, they brought the house down. Below, I provide links to videos for all five songs. I invite you to watch them all and be as stunned as we were by the creativity of these young birders.
In posting these videos, I'm inviting you to share in a spontaneous event full of exuberant, goofy fun. Other than me captioning the songs, so you can better appreciate their astonishing word play, it's presented straight and unfiltered. So there are some very mild instances of salty language, as well as some affectionate jokes at the expense of us camp leaders, some famous birders, brands, and so on. It's all in good fun and should be heard that way. It's summer camp for teenagers, after all.
Without further ado, I present Pish & Twitch and their first song, "Chase Me Maybe."
Great stuff, huh? That's Brendan on the left and Caleb on the right.
For their next song, "Moves Like Jaeger," Pish & Twitch are joined by William von Herff.
Next up, "Flight Calls," an amazing encapsulation of the weird and wonderful practice of listening for and identfying nocturnal migrants.
And now, the epic "Migrants Go By."
And finally, to send you all home, here's "Bill Stewart!"
Ladies and gentlemen, that was Pish & Twitch! We hear that they've been hard at work on additional parodies in the days since camp. And camper Joe Hernandez just designed this beautiful logo for them.
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To Brendan and Caleb, and William and all the fine birders who made the ABA's 2013 summer camps the wonderful experiences they were. Good birding to you all! See you on down the trail.
And to Leica Sport Optics and all the members/donors of the ABA, thank you. The future of birding is measurably brighter and more vibrant because of your support.