Not literally, of course. Crow hugging is fraught with peril at the best of times, but especially in spring when nesting season has them a bit tense.
But I do suggest that you give the crow (or pick your favourite bird, plant, patch of moss or mollusk) a special thought today.
It’s Earth Day so, ideally, we should be extending our love to the entire planet.
But that’s a hard thing to do, particularly when what the planet needs from us right now is massive change —change that is going to be really tough for us to make.
The majority of the world’s population now lives in cities, where we often feel very cut off from what we think of as Nature.
So, given that most of us are urbanites these days, how are we to develop the necessary connection with nature in order to care enough to make change and move towards saving the planet?
As my dear mother used to say, “wherever you go, there you are.”
And where you are now, even if it’s in the heart of the city, has tenacious bits of nature thriving in it.
It just takes a slight focus shift to start becoming aware of, and amazed by it.
Often the thing you tend to notice first, just because of its size and boldness, is a crow.
I find that the crow is your gateway bird, leading to the habit of noticing the bird world as a whole. Once you’ve started to look up to see what the crows are up to, you can’t help but start to notice the robins, sparrows, bushtits, chickadees and hawks going about their more subtle, but equally fascinating, avian business.
And noticing birds is, in turn, a gateway to the wonder of nature in general.
The task of saving the earth often seems far too big and therefore hopeless.
The tools we need this Earth Day are empathy and hope.
Someone who embodies both of these qualities is 87 year old Jean Vanier, who created L’Arche — a unique and loving community for mentally disable adults. Here are some of his thoughts on birds, as told to columnist and writer, Ian Brown in a Globe and Mail interview.
Some notes on the author’s quoted in this blog post:
John Marzluff’s Wikipedia page says this:
“John Marzluff is a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington and author of In the Company of Crows and Ravens, Gifts of the Crow, and Welcome to Subirdia. His lab once banded crows with a Dick Cheney mask.”
— so you know he’d be fun guy to know!
Subirdia is his most recent book about the amazing adaptability of birds, their importance, and what we can do to help them survive in our urbanized world.
I first discovered Seattle author Lyanda Lynn Haupt when I picked up a copy of Crow Planet several years ago. It remains one of my favourite books, combining science, poetry and humour in a way that I could read all day. She’s also written a wonderful book on city wildlife in general (The Urban Bestiary) and I look forward to her next one on the subject of starlings. And she has a blog: The Tangled Nest.
Colin Tudge is a British biologist and entertaining author, The Bird is only one of many books he’s written. I next want to read his book The Secret Life of Trees.
You can read more about the life and work of Jean Vanier on his website.
Ian Brown is an author and columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper. His books include Boy in the Moon, about his severely disabled son and his latest, Sixty, The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? That one’s also on my reading list.
7 thoughts on “Hug a Crow This Earth Day”
What a wonderful and uplifting blog this is to read. Thank you. Happy Earth day…I’ll go hug a tree and leave the crows(and magpies) to their nesting…after I feed them a few peanuts of course.
Thanks so much, Susan. I agree that tree hugging is a lot more practical than crow hugging!
I wasn’t expecting this today, but it made my heart smile! It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of the day-to-day. After reading your blog, I dropped what I was doing and went outside to check on my adorable little outdoor critters. I have my usual pair of crows stealing my squirrels’ peanuts (love it). They are so vocal this time of year, as are the mourning doves. Also working on adding more Columbine, ferns and hostas to my maple garden area. Thank you for making my day; I so look forward to each of your new e-mails.
Hugs sweet lady,
Hi Diane, thanks so much. Your garden sounds fabulous. Our garden is a bit bird silent at the moment. It’s either because they’re completely engrossed in nesting, or keeping hidden from the hawk that visits every spring. The hawks are nesting a few blocks away so I expect they’re “grocery shopping” for their growing family too.
Here Here to the serendipity of nature that is everywhere. We just have to look. Thanx. r
So true, batgurrl! 🙂
Crows are fantastic as are magpies and also owls.