A Message in the Sky

It isn’t a dove, and it isn’t carrying an olive branch.

Probably too early for that, as we bob about in our socially-distanced arks on a vast sea of uncertainty, fear and loneliness, with no land yet in sight.

But it did feel, when I saw this crow flying over, trailing its lovely garland, that I was seeing some sort of message.

Perhaps: “Life is going on for us, and it will for you as well one day.”

Or maybe: “Look out and up, and there is beauty.”

Possibly: “My neighbours are going to be SO jealous when they see what I just got for the nest.”

As you may know, I’ve been photographing crows for many years now. I especially like to watch them in the spring when they’re collecting material for the nest. I love the silhouettes they make against the sky with twigs of various shapes in their beaks.

I have also watched them struggle to get just the right branch out of a tree. It’s not an easy task, as they have to first break the twig off and then wrestle it out of the tangle of branches on the tree. They often lose their prize, or just give up and look for an easier one.

This is, by far, the most impressive and lovely thing I’ve ever seen a crow manage to acquire.

Crows are known to sometimes present miscellaneous material goods to people who befriend and feed them. The crows of my acquaintance never do that, but they do give me wonderful things.

The fact that this determined crow* managed to haul this ridiculously long and beautiful garland out of an ornamental plum tree; that they happened to be poised on a roof with it just as I walked by with the dog; that they chose to fly off with it right in front of me — you must admit that these are a series of rather special gifts.

So, in a spring season like none we can remember, these pictures are gifts from the crows to you, via me. With love.





*This crow is either Mabel, or one of her family.


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24 thoughts on “A Message in the Sky

  1. Nesting time is on!! Today I was almost hit with a bit of twig and foliage. No crow or tree in sight so I went to myself it is nest time!! They are getting busy. Keep up the good work & stay safe. We do have our crows to keep us entertained and balanced.

    • I agree – thank you so much. Not only do I admire your photos, but your posts/instagram make me laugh so much.

  2. Magnificent!! I, too, love to see crows collecting nesting fixtures; of course one has to be looking with face upwards (chin too). Chin up – a couple of words that I have been suggesting to folks in my circle who were feeling unmoored.

    Speaking of nesting materials, I wear a wooden stick in my hair to keep the bun on top of my head. I lost one of my best sticks today somewhere in Crescent Beach, retraced my steps with no luck (and I am a darn good detective). Then I had the thought as I looked up: I bet one of the local crow crew found it! I can see it now: a room divider.

    Thank you June for making us smile both now and then.

  3. Thank you for this post, June! I just saw a pair engaging in nest building the other day – a first for me to see them choose, trim and trail their pieces off to the nest site. It was lovely to see. And – I love that your stick just might be a room divider in the someones new abode. lol

  4. Gorgeous photographs! And a smile worthy post!
    I too am much entertained and impressed by their twig and whatnot gatherings ’round this time of year. We are the lucky ones to notice the show 🙂

  5. Thank you June. Echoing others: just what I needed. It made reflect and smile. And you captured it perfectly in words and images.

  6. Thank you June for your lovely photos and stories. Your daily entry makes me feel like there is a normalcy, albeit a new one. At this unprecedented time, I feel grateful that it is happening during our Spring. There are so many bits of newness at this time of the year. I live on Salt Spring Island and we have a pond that is screaming with frogs just now! Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. You feel like a part of the family and I appreciate you taking the time to share your day.

  7. This is so beautiful and hopeful. I admire all corvid a, but miss crows where I now live! Ravens suffice. May I have your permission to try and paint this? I would send you the result… if it turns out.

  8. Thanks so much for all your recent posts. They provide a grounding in uncertain times as the natural world is going about its business as usual and its so delightful to see it!

  9. Hi again,

    I subscribe to this blog done by a woman in East Vancouver. She normally posts every week but right now is posting every day. Her focus is birds, especially crows and she can pretty much recognize individual birds in her neighbourhood and observes their daily lives. She is a top-notch photographer too.

    It occurred to me that you might well enjoy her posts as much as I do.


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