A Red-Letter Bird - theHumm August 2022
A Red-Letter Bird - theHumm August 2022
By Lise Balthazar
I will never forget the day I saw my first scarlet tanager; it was June 2010, during an early morning walk. I heard a bird singing from high up in the canopy of a tree, a hoarse and raspy whistle, best described as a robin singing with a sore throat. As I was carefully scanning the high branches of the tree, I caught a brief flash of fiery red. Several minutes later the bird revealed itself to me in all its glory. The American naturalist Henri David Thoreau said it best: “The tanager flies through the green foliage as if it would ignite the leaves.”
Most if not all birders would agree that the male scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a stunning songbird in the forests of Eastern Ontario during summer. His crimson red body is emphasized by inky-black wings and tail. He is medium-sized and slightly stubby, with a thick, rounded bill. His favourite spot is high up in the trees and that makes him frustratingly hard to find, despite his scarlet livery.
The female is even more difficult to spot; she is yellowish-green with dark wings, perfect camouflage among the tree leaves. Her song resembles the male’s but is softer and less raspy. She answers the male’s song and also sings while she is gathering nesting material. Both male and female also have a very sharp and distinctive “chick-burr” call, which resonates through the forest.
Scarlet tanagers arrive in Eastern Ontario in early May. Their preferred habitat is deciduous forest, mainly where tall oak trees are present, but they also frequent maple, beech, and other trees. They spend most of their time foraging for insects in the foliage, including caterpillars, moths, beetles, wasps, bees, aphids and many others. They also like berries, such as blackberries, raspberries, serviceberries, mulberries and chokeberries.
During his courtship display, the male hops around on a branch while the female sits above him. He lets his wings hang down and spreads his tail, accentuating the contrast between their jet-black colour and his vivid red body. The female is the sole nest builder. In three to four days, she creates a shallow cup made of twigs, grasses, plant stalks, bark strips and pine needles lined with fine grass and rootlets. She builds it on a horizontal branch, well away from the trunk. She usually lays four eggs and incubates them by herself for twelve to fourteen days. Both parents feed the babies, which leave the nest nine to fifteen days after hatching; they are tended by both parents for about two more weeks. Then the family disperses before migrating.
After breeding, adult males molt to female-like plumage, but with black wings and tail. In the fall, immature males resemble the females, with olive-yellow body and darker olive wings and tails. The following spring, the young males start showing some colour, with variations of yellow to light orange. It takes them a couple of years to display the full breeding plumage of an adult.
Although their main diet consists of insects with a few berries thrown in, scarlet tanagers have also been known to appreciate orange slices, either nailed to tree branches or on an orange feeder designed for orioles. When they first arrive in early spring, there may not be too many insects to feed on; if they should come across a backyard offering orange slices, scarlet tanagers might very well take advantage of it.
The North American Breeding Bird Survey reveals the scarlet tanager population has declined by about 14% between 1966 and 2014. Tanagers are sensitive to habitat fragmentation and since their primary habitat is the interior forest, the clearing of trees due to development may affect their population over time. For instance, in some fragmented landscapes, tanagers’ nests are in greater danger of being parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds — where the female cowbird gets rid of a tanager egg and replaces it with one of her own. To protect the scarlet tanagers, researchers recommend preserving and restoring mature forest habitat for migrating and breeding.
Just like so many other mammals, insects, reptiles and birds, scarlet tanagers need to be protected and even treasured. It would be an immense loss if those magnificent birds disappeared one day, and with them their ability to “ignite the leaves” with their astonishing colour.
While it is true that scarlet tanagers are notoriously hard to spot in the dense foliage where they like to forage for food, never ever give up trying to spot one. Be patient and persistent and follow that raspy song. I promise you will not be disappointed, and just like me you will never forget your first sighting of that red-letter bird.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
Sometimes it’s tempting to think certain people’s lives are preordained. When a kid who loves to draw just happens to luck into marvelously supportive mentors, it’s no wonder he becomes an artist. When Dave Dunn was only six or seven, his public-school art teacher, Grace Murray, encouraged him wholeheartedly by praising his watercolour painting of a sunset in front of the whole class. Then he stumbled into the amazingly good fortune to have Canada’s beloved nat......
Richard Gill’s Annual Show Burnstown Sculptor Sheds Light on 50-Year Career with Milestone Show - theHumm August 2022
Half a century has passed since artist/sculptor Richard Gill, his wife Jacqui and infant daughter Erin rolled through the hamlet of Burnstown driving a 1968 Volkswagon camper, and stopped to change his daughter’s diaper. They noticed an old log house for sale. A phone call later, a deal was made, and the family moved lock stock and barrel from their city home in Toronto. Richard never looked back.
Little did he know the boarded-up former tavern/stoppin’ place without plumbing or......
By — Submitted The Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Much has been said, wondered and theorized about Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the Alice in Wonderland musical (based on Mr. Carroll’s famous story, by Sally Netzel with music composed by Beatrice Wolf), Alice says: “I wish people would be foolish sometimes. That they’d believe silly things, impossible things.” Now, doesn’t that sum things up nicely?
Young Alice, who will be played by multiple actors, doesn’t want to study, isn’t interested in “books without pictu......
By Bruce Deachman
It began as something else — as two discrete projects, actually — that unexpectedly merged into one. And maybe it all began more than a half-century ago, with my Grade 2 teacher, Miss Mills, among whose class exercises included this favourite of mine: she would draw three squiggly lines on a piece of paper, and ask each student to make a drawing that incorporated those lines. The assignment had a vague structure, but relied almost entirely on our imaginations. I......
After missing two years, the Ottawa Valley’s grooviest community festival is back!
On August 5 to 7, everyone is welcome to the Killaloe Craft and Community Fair. Established in 1976 by back-to-the-land hippies and draft-dodgers, the Fair is a volunteer-run non-profit outdoor festival featuring music, workshops, vendors, kids’ activities, camping, fabulous food and much more. With something for everyone, the Fair is a truly intergenerational event that takes pride in being an inclusive gather......
The exclusive gallery event of the year, A Midsummer Night in Perth returns to beautiful downtown heritage Perth. On Saturday, August 13 you can immerse yourself in the inspiring world of art meeting fashion and food!
Come to the Katherine Muir Miller Gallery, where they will be rolling out the red carpet for a one-night-only exclusive event. Tickets are on sale now for admission to an elegant evening filled with art, hats, music, fashion and a delicious selection of wines, beers and sw......
MMLT Presents The Festival of the Wild Child Outdoor Family-Friendly Event is Better than Ever! - theHumm August 2022
The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) invites you and your family to High Lonesome Nature Reserve for their annual Festival of the Wild Child on Saturday, August 27. This popular nature-themed family event is a fantastic opportunity to experience outdoor fun along the wooded trails, beaver ponds and butterfly meadows.
To make the event safer amid the pandemic, the last two years featured special scavenger hunt editions of the Festival of the Wild Child. These hunts were s......
Perth Garlic Festival - theHumm August 2022
The Perth Lions Garlic Festival is thrilled to announce that the 23rd annual Garlic Festival is a go! After having to cancel the festival for the last two years due to Covid, the Committee is putting together what they feel will be one of their best events yet. They will be highlighting vendors (many are returning), birds of prey, music, food, fun, and of course, lots of garlic! Check them out at perthgarlicfestival.c......
3 Galleries; 3 Shows - theHumm August 2022
Almonte’s Sivarulrasa Gallery has three shows planned for August — one in each of their three distinct gallery spaces.
From July 20 to August 26, they are pleased to present Catherine Gutsche: Improv, an installation in Gallery II by Ottawa-based artist Catherine Gutsche that explores themes of improvisation in nature and in her practice as an artist. The show features seven new paintings in acrylic and mixed media, from the exuberant Scarlet Bergamot to the ......
August has been described as “the kindest month” — soft days, sunshine and a time for slowing down after the frantic rush of a typical Canadian summer and before the inevitable arrival of cooler weather. August is a perfect month for day trips to charming destinations, such as beautiful Westport, Ontario, with its thriving art community, unique shops, restaurants and accessible waterfront on Upper Rideau Lake.
Speaking of Westport, after two long years, one of eastern Ontario’s premier art......
Calypso at The Cove - theHumm August 2022
By — Rob Riendeau
On Friday, August 19, The Cove Inn in Westport will be transformed into a Caribbean dance hall as Kobo Town comes to share their “intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass,” (The Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism,”(Exclaim!).
Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves and based in Toronto, this JUNO-nominated band has introduced their distinct calypso-inspired sound to......
Let’s Celebrate Our Community! Perth & District Community Foundation Hosts a Free Community Celebration - theHumm August 2022
The Perth & District Community Foundation (PDCF) is turning twenty. To celebrate this special anniversary, the PDCF will be hosting a free Let’s Celebrate Our Community event with special guests Juno award-winning singer-songwriter James Keelaghan and acclaimed fiddler Jess Wedden. This celebration will take place on Sunday, September 11 at the Crystal Palace in Perth. We contacted President Ron Heesen to find out more about the organization and their plans for the future.
Colleen Gray at S.M.art Gallery! Local Artist Offering Lessons and More at Carleton Place Gallery - theHumm August 2022
Colleen Gray is of Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Irish descent who practices her culture daily. She is also a fulltime artist and volunteer running Art for Aid — an organization that has worked to put art supplies into remote Indigenous schools in Canada for over ten years. Colleen works with various media on synthetic paper and is excited to help others explore this diverse and unique art form. The materials can be an expensive investment, so lessons will allow someone to see how they feel about......
Tarts and Artsin Arnprior! - theHumm August 2022
Butter tarts are up for the tasting as bakers vie for awards in “Traditional” and “Wild” categories in this first annual butter tart competition. In other words, anything goes for this iconic Canadian dessert, which first appeared as a recipe in 1900 in Barrie, Ontario. Judging will take place from noon to 1pm during the day-long Tarts and Arts Festival, taking place from 9:30am to 4pm on Saturday, August 27 and featuring something for everyone in beautiful Robert Simpson Park in Arnprior.
The Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum, located at 11 Old Slys Road, will be hosting a “Rideau Artist of the Year” event on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7.
Both artists and the public are invited to the picturesque grounds of the museum, Old Slys Rapids and Lock Station to create an original work of art that captures the beauty of the Rideau Canal in Smiths Falls. This location showcases a beautiful stone train bridge, rapids, natural wildlife, built heritage and of course the Rideau Canal — a UNESCO World Heritage Site where transportation heritage meets the natural landscap......
As the summer continues on, so do the incredible events to experience in Perth!
On August 13 and 14, the annual Perth Lions Garlic Festival returns for its 23rd year. Taking place at the Perth Fairgrounds, the event brings together “garlic heads” and producers to promote Ontario-grown garlic and share ideas on how to grow, harvest, market, cook and enjoy garlic. In addition to vendors, you’ll find gourmet cooking demos, wine, beer & liquor tastings, birds of prey and li......
Families giving birth at the Almonte General Hospital are now benefiting from three new fetal heart monitors — thanks in part to funding from the annual Run/Walk event held each fall. The three state-of-the-art units combine the abilities to monitor and trace the heart rates of both baby and mother, record the information which can then be shared with the delivery team, and offer several other options for gathering real time information when necessary. The monitors cost $48,000.
“These new machines ar......
Come out to the friendly town of Almonte on September 10 and 11 for the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum’s 27th annual Fibrefest. This year’s festival is taking place at two locations — the Almonte Community Centre and the Textile Museum. Admission to Fibrefest is $7 per day, which gets you access to both sites. Local guilds will demonstrate spinning, knitting, weaving, rug hooking, lacemaking, smocking and quilting. Vendors include finished fibre goods and textil......
August: Outdoor Fun in the Sun Naismith 3 on 3, Puppets Up!, Pakenham Fair and Highland Games Return - theHumm August 2022
Hello! Miss Mills here — your friendly puppet reporter in the Friendly Town of Mississippi Mills. And I am so happy to be here! Because it is AUGUST!
August used to be my favourite month of the year. Sure, mainly because all my puppet friends, old and new, came to town, but also due to it being full of fun in the sun! But then we stopped hosting puppets, and then Covid stopped everything else. And now, after years of what I shall call “The Dark Times”, the sun is finally shining ......
Celebrating its 16th year, the Sundance Artisan Show invites you to spend time in a beautiful riverfront setting with local artists in Maberly, Ontario over the Labour Day weekend.
Peppered across two acres of forest, field and riverfront will be a large and diverse group of artisans specializing in various art forms: pottery, wood, sheet metal, stained glass, artisanal soaps, fibre art, jewellery, clothing and blown glass, to name a few. The artists have been working hard over the year and are rea......
By Barbara Carroll, Grief Counsellor
A garden shed, 100 small floral paintings, and a solitary viewing experience.. these are the elements that will play off each other in an art installation titled Mother. Conceived as a contemplative space to reflect on the theme of loss, the paintings make specific reference to one important woman in artist Jennifer Zeitz’s life — her mother who died during Covid.
Why a garden shed? “My mother’s garden was her refuge. Like many women of her generation, she found time to nurture plants and cult......
By Sally Smith
“I truly am a girl from the Valley. I don’t complain… I just do it. I never look back.”
Dorothy Goubault’s determination, she says, comes from her parents who brought her up with “phenomenal values. My father used to say if a man can do it, you can do it. Don’t ever take a back seat.”
And so she hasn’t.
About seven months ago she embarked on her latest project — to make a CD. This one, her first, is a tribute to and in memory of Gerald Arthur McBride, her true companion for many ......
Edible Greens - theHumm August 2022
By Judy Wall,Lanark County Master Gardener
Just when you think you know the vegetables you grow and how to harvest them, your dog teaches you something new. This week I am weeding in my veggie garden, with my dog laying on the grass near me, as she likes to do. When I look up, I see her munching on a large leaf.
I panic, go to see what she is eating, and learn that she went to the turnips and bit off the entire large leaf. There she sits eating the whole leaf, and enjoying it. I go to check with Dr. Google to see if turnip leaves a......
The Art of Productive Frittering - theHumm August 2022
By Glenda Jones
We’re into August. We need to relax and regroup for the onslaught of September, so it’s time to take a serious look at frittering. This activity is not to be taken lightly. After a season of busyness, which included getting to the cottage, or getting to the back yard, or getting the garden into some semblance of recognizable plant material, you must now be exhausted and need some respite to call your own. Okay, frittering time it is.
Firstly, frittering occurs on the day when you think you have a l......
Mary Capper is a retired administrator living in Carleton Place. She is a history buff and self-described sleuth, particularly when researching the hidden truths behind her own ancestry and genealogy. While doing that research, a picture emerged of a strong, courageous, and resilient woman who did not resemble the grandmother she knew as a child. Sadly, Capper only remembers the broken version of this incredible woman: a miserable old curmudgeon who was often referred to as “the old battle-......
The Castleton Massacre - theHumm August 2022
By John Pigeau
On the evening of May 2, 1963, in the rural hamlet of Castleton, Ontario, a former United Church minister murdered every woman in his family but one. What led to this femicide, and why were its victims forgotten? Authors Sharon Anne Cook and Margaret Carson (who was one of two survivors of the tragedy) set out to answer those very complex and difficult questions in their important new memoir, The Castleton Massacre: Survivors’ Stories of the Killins Femicide.
The book draws hea......
It Ain’t Over... - theHumm August 2022
By David Hinks
The heat-hating plants such as arugula and spinach have long been in the rear-view mirror, and the heat-lovers such as tomatoes, peppers, corn and squash are coming on gangbusters. Does this mean that hard-core salad lovers are out of luck? Not at all! Mother Nature is happy to give us a second chance.
I have written more than a few times about the possibilities of planting cool weather vegetables for a fall harvest. Mid-August generally signals the end of the heat of summer with cooler ......
A Red-Letter Bird - theHumm August 2022
By Lise Balthazar
I will never forget the day I saw my first scarlet tanager; it was June 2010, during an early morning walk. I heard a bird singing from high up in the canopy of a tree, a hoarse and raspy whistle, best described as a robin singing with a sore throat. As I was carefully scanning the high branches of the tree, I caught a brief flash of fiery red. Several minutes later the bird revealed itself to me in all its glory. The American naturalist Henri David Thoreau said it best: “The tanager......
Random Acts of Kindness - theHumm August 2022
By — Bill Fehlner is a member of the creative writing group at St. Paul’s Anglican Church’s Centre for Creative Living in Almonte
The sky is a deep blue and the fields of soybeans and sunflowers glow in the late afternoon sunlight. My car bounces over a railroad crossing just outside my destination, a small town in the Ottawa Valley. I’m early for my appointment and have some time to kill.
I find some parking along a side street. When I step out of my car, I feel the sting of each gust of wind off the Ottawa River. Strolling back towards Main Street, I notice an old man sitting at the corner, wrapped in a blanket, with a small basket for donations in front of him. I walk by him quickly, not wanting to get involv......
May 22 - Sep 5 Head Over Heels
Jul 12 - Sep 6 Eric Uren
Aug 2 - 31 Exhibit: Ghosts of the Highway
Aug 4 - 31 Jazz Night w/Spencer Evans Trio
Aug 8 Matt Dickson
Aug 11 The Tempest
Aug 12 - 14 Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival
Aug 12 Jeff Callery
Aug 13 - 14 Perth Lions Garlic Festival
Aug 13 Eric Uren on the Patio
- David Dunn — Doing What Comes Naturally
- Richard Gill’s Annual Show Burnstown Sculptor Sheds Light on 50-Year Career with Milestone Show
- Travel to Wonderland with Alice! Summer Fare at Smiths Falls Station Theatre
- Ghosts of the Highway New Exhibit at Perth’s Concave Gallery
- Calling All Hippies… To the Killaloe Craft and Community Fair!
- A Midsummer Night in Perth Landscapes Interpreted Through Art and Fashion
- MMLT Presents The Festival of the Wild Child Outdoor Family-Friendly Event is Better than Ever!
- Perth Garlic Festival
- 3 Galleries; 3 Shows
- Beautiful Art in Beautiful Westport!