You may have wondered why the Red-tailed Tropicbird is used as my avatar and brand for aussiebirder.com. This was the bird that captured my attention and drew me away from nature photography to a love of birds. It was not the visual aspect (photographics) that so much attracted me, though important as it is, but the behavioural characteristics, that brought my admiration for this bird.
I traveled to Lord Howe Island years ago, specifically to find this elusive bird which is only found soaring above inaccessible sea cliffs around the islands of Australia and the Pacific.
It was the assertion that these birds were able to fly backwards when performing their courting ritual that caused me to seek out ‘the backward flying bird’. It is the way these birds continuously effortlessly soar over the cliff faces for hours on the breeze, performing occasional aerial acrobatic that attracts me to them. Their red streamer (tail extension) assists them in their acrobatic skills.
We always get excited when we see them. They do not appear to be feeding or busy like other birds, they just enjoy soaring like eagles on the thermals and playing as they use their unique ‘butterfly flight’. This makes them very difficult to capture on movie as you can see below.
The Tropicbird feeds mainly on flying fish which it catches in the air, and can dive from 50 metres directly into the ocean to catch fish or squid also so food is always on tap. It does not build a nest but nests openly beneath pine trees on cliff edges or inside caves which are usually inaccessible to humans. Visitors to the islands often mistaken these birds for gulls as they only see them from a distance, but their black feet and black facial mark set them apart which a birder would detect.
I have always been a creative person, and enjoyed exploring different means of creative expression, like these birds. It is good to accept who I am and enjoy being uniquely different. Being uniquely me as I was created to be, and not trying to be someone else. This week I would like to share another aspect of my creativity which you may have noticed as the musical backing to many of my video clips used on the website. Today in this time when we are restricted to our homes, and our National Parks are locked up I will share some of my music. Please bare in mind that I am not a trained musician, do not read from music, but play by ear. These tracks are all recorded on my computer. You may remember hearing this backing I called New Beginnings:
I track the background and then overlap the lead later. Experimenting with nature sounds, such as the sounds of a wetlands at night I composed this one called Sounds of the Night:
Another concept I used for my DVD set The Beautiful Series which was produced six years ago and now unavailable was to use bird call backing, waterfall backing and ocean backing to complement my sound. It is quite astounding that the many people who have commented on my music, as unprofessional as it is, have all used the same descriptive word soothing to describe it. Here is some backing used for previous posts. Because the clip is short the lead does not occur.
As some of you are aware I do like playing blues, a love from my past. There are occasions where this fits in nicely also.
I also enjoy creating encouraging clips for Facebook and my website homepage. Here is an example using water and bird calls together. I am currently creating new productions.
Lastly, Here is me unplugged playing the popular tunes of the past which are not my own but have my bluesy touch to them. Here is a few. Please remember these are played off the cuff without preparation, so the odd strange note or two my occur.
The House of the Rising Sun (recorded by the Animals in 1964) was one of my favorite songs we did through the years.
Cotton Fields ( first recorded by Lead Belly in 1940 and later by Creedence CWR in 1969) another fav from the old days.
What a Wonderful World is another (recorded by Louis Armstrong 1967 and written for him by Bob Thiele and David Weiss to assist in integration of race in America. They thought Louis was a great ambassador for this purpose). I love this song and I love his bluesy voice singing it.
Anyway, if you are locked up at home like me in isolation maybe these tunes will help soothe, as one famous quote says: music soothes the savage beast. which was a misquote of William Concreve’s 1697 line: music hath charms to sooth a savage breast. This is why Music Therapy has become a new form of therapy in medicine used in hospitals, while waiting on phones and in shopping centres to help soothe reduce aggression, fear and ease suffering. We all use music as a therapy at times when alone or when we need a pickup. Like our choice of food and acquaintances, music choices are important and can subconsciously lift us up or press us down creating anxiety, sadness and stress. We need to filter what we hear. Too many people today just listen to whatever, because they are told it is popular, the latest or because a radio station has chosen it for them, without realising its hidden impact. We were created to sing and enjoy song and music, and worship our Creator joyfully (a word used many times in the Bible in relation to worship) with music and song, as this is not only encouraging but holds a positive health benefit also, strengthening our immune system and lifting our emotional state. So when circumstances like the present are causing you to feel gloomy, frustrated or sad, joyful music and song with positive lyrics may be therapeutic. Music is the language known by all peoples. My blogger friend David from BirdsAsPoetry blog shared this video in a recent blog post which speaks of the unifying common thread that music has across the world. If you like blues and soul you will love it.
“David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.” – 1 Kings 10:12
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” – Psalm 100:2
“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,” – Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
Enjoy your week ! Stay Safe! We continue to enjoy our staycation this week and my wife and I have had a very peaceful time cleaning out clutter from the past and just enjoying the peace and quiet around us, as well as each other’s company.
My Mission: To encourage young people to make good life choices, using birds to teach important life skills.
W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.