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    Ladies and Gentlemen, LIVE from Camp Avocet…Pish & Twitch!!!

    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, brought the house down performing 5 song parodies with the lyrics reworked to joke about the joys and travails of birding. I invite you to watch them all and be as stunned as we were by the creativity of these young birders.

    Pish & Twitch ©Geo Armistead

    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.

    Pish & Twitch logo

    You can like them on Facebook and keep up with all the latest P&T news.

    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.

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    Jeff Gordon

    Jeff Gordon

    Jeff Gordon is the president of the American Birding Association. There's very little about birds, birding, and birders that he doesn't find fascinating, though he's especially interested in birding culture and the many ways we all communicate our passion for birds, including this Blog.
    • http://profile.typepad.com/schmoker Bill Schmoker

      Simply awesome, such a cool way to wrap the day! Amazing talent to come up with such funny and clever songs in-between everything else you guys were doing at camp, BRAVO!!

    • Rick Hollis

      Who says birders don’t have a sense of humor.

    • Michael Retter

      Perennial Rio Grande Valley Festival leader and Omaha resident Justin Rink has been crafting bird parodies for well over a decade. Particular gems include “Sweet Dreams Are Made of Grebes” and “Take Me Down to Empidonax City (Where the Birds Are Green and the IDs Iffy)”.

      • http://nemesisbird.com/ Drew Weber

        Know where we can find these parodies?

    • Michael Retter

      And by the way, guys, this is awesome. “Move Like Jaeger” was especially funny.

    • http://profile.typepad.com/jeffgyr Jeff Gordon

      Absolutely! There is a long tradition of birder song parodies. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve heard Steve N.G. Howell’s rendition of “Hotel Pteradroma,” or the gang from BirdWatcher’s Digest sing, “Mommas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowbirds,” just to name two.

    • Michael Retter

      I have not heard of Hotel Pterodroma–sounds great! And then there are the two versions on “California Gulls”.

    • http://nemesisbird.com Drew

      This was seriously awesome guys! Hope to see more!

    • http://Www.birdingisfun.com Robert

      Two thumbs up from “Birding is Fun!”

    • Ann Nightingale

      Pish and Twitch are freakin’ awesome! Love it! With all of the other parodies, do I sense a compilation in the future?

    • http://www.birdingcraft.com/wordpress Pat ODonnell

      New favorite bird band.

    • Eric Marcum

      I think that you might be able to eventually market these songs they were great. Can’t wait to hear rmore.

    • Barbara Thorp

      Loved you guys; always great to see young lads trekking for birds

    • Mary

      Pish and Twitch was great! I have to watch these with my daughter. She also is a birding parodist. She’s got “I’m a Birder Girl” … you know, instead of that horrible song, I’m a Barbie Girl. My favorite line: I never brush my hair, but I bird everywhere.
      BIrding is our cure for pop culture, plus it’s hilarious.
      She also has some originals – not parodies – about birding. “I want to see 850 species this year” has a particularly good grove to it. lol. And then there’s her very heavy metal tune, “Rock Dove”.
      I look forward to more from Pish and Twitch. Maybe “Blurred Lines” … about trying to ID a rare bird from a bad photo. Just keep it clean, boys.

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