Dollarbird, 2015, Jill Sampson

Dollarbird, 2015

This etching and audio was created for inclusion in the touring exhibition installation Bimblebox 153 Birds

Drypoint, reused etching plate
A4 (29.7 x 21cm)
Edition:  A/P

Every year Dollarbirds seasonally migrate to parts of Australia, including the farm on which I grew up and where my parents still live.  I moved back there with my young family in 2010 and each year the first week of October is marked with anticipation and excitement as we await, and listen for, the Dollarbirds return.  They are a source of joy and wonderment as we watch them catch insects on the wing, nest and listen to their call over the summer.  

The Dollarbirds
Jill Sampson ©

Come October, we listen for you.  It is your call that first alerts us to your return. An excitement shared and celebrated between generations.  Bare feet run across the grass “Grandma, Grandad, the Dollarbirds are back!”

Slight hunch when you rest high on a tree branch, sunset red beak, feathers azure blue toning to navy, flash of silver dollars when you fly.  

One or two pairs nest in the swamp paddock, I am never quite sure.  You appear to have vacated that immense dead tree, perhaps evicted by your nemesis the newly arrived Indian Myna.  Instead you take residence in those ancient yet living eucalypts whose youth had passed before fencelines and axe came.

Another pair nest in the rippling lifeless limbs of a tree beside the creek. A third pair near Boofy’s dam, his lookout call a dead give away.

Sometimes you all hunt together chasing a swarm of insects high above the old jacarandas.  Other times dipping and rolling across the Kurrajong paddock at dusk.  This air show is not to be missed.

Come October we listen for you, yet we fear the day of your non-return.