Crow Therapy Thoughts

This summer I gave a couple of webinars on the topic of Crow Therapy and it’s something I think about almost every day as I try to understand why, after 15 years or so, I never tire of watching and taking photos of my local crows. Somehow I feel that the crows are a key to unlocking a big mystery and I’m still working on what it is. But here’s what I’ve got so far, starting with what I don’t think it is.


Every time I write the phrase Crow Therapy I worry that it sounds just a little exploitative — as if crows, like the rest of nature, are just there for our entertainment.  As if it’s something that could be packaged in a fancy jar and marketed to a stressed consumer. *

Fashion Statement

I hope it’s a more reciprocal arrangement — one in which crows can regularly jolt me out of my default setting of seeing the human race as the centre of the universe.

A little daily crow therapy reminds me that other lives  —  every bit as ordinary and epic as mine — are being lived alongside mine. This realization brings great  joy, but also a weight of responsibility and I feel a constant obligation to communicate both. 

Interpretive Dance

Joy, I feel, is something that we’re going to need more of in the coming years — and it needs to be a different joy than the kind with which we’ve soothed ourselves up to now.  We need a more sustainable source of joy — less of the kind  acquired via tropical holidays and the general accumulation of material things. I’ve convinced myself at different times in my life that I’m just one Tupperware container, one pair of pants, or that fabulous kitchen appliance away from my whole life falling into place, so I’m as much in need of convincing on this front as anyone else.**

Judgemental Crows

For the last few days my Twitter feed has been a rushing river of terrifying news from my own province of BC — roads and rail lines washed away, entire towns flooded, homes and lives lost in a moment. In the midst of this harrowing torrent, an ad for Lincoln cars bobs up regularly like a jolly life buoy. The ad assures me that driving a Lincoln will provide great relaxation in the face of life’s little frustrations — things liking having odd socks disappear in the laundry and (in a final touch of unintentional irony) having my umbrella blown inside out by the wind in a storm. 

I am 100% sure that a new Lincoln is NOT the answer to life’s daily trials,  and definitely not the way to relieve the sadness of seeing life inevitably altered by climate change and coming to terms with the difficult changes that will be needed.

But I do know that spending half an hour watching crows will help.

Philosopher Crow

Or watching rain drip onto a patch of moss. Or listening to the Northern Flickers chattering.

This is a sustainable joy, free, readily available to anyone, and consuming no natural resources … and  it’s the kind of joy I’m trying to rely on more and more.

I do realize that I spend so much time exploring the meandering rabbit hole of my Crow Therapy theory, that I often fail to get around to posting anything about actual crows any more.  I have a musing problem, I know …

Consequently I have a huge backlog of crow news and photos, so I will try to remedy this, starting tomorrow with a Marvin and Mavis update.

I guess the one thing that I was trying to say in this post was that I mean the idea of crow therapy (and my images) to be, not just a respite from general and/or climate stress, but also an inspiration and a focus for taking action to make things better — for ourselves, for crows, for nature as a whole.

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*& **  I say these things, even as I hope you’ll purchase my images, calendars, bags etc, to enable me to continue thinking about, writing about and photographing crows, so I am aware of contradictions and I am far from having all the answers.




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22 thoughts on “Crow Therapy Thoughts

  1. Those flickers are charming…commenting, listening, commenting. Thanks, June, for a delightful 18 seconds! (As well as for your whole post, of course.)

  2. How true especially after a week we have had. It really puts things in to perspective and this week just living on the outskirts of Abbotsford has certainly been a eye opener on mainly levels for me and my family. Suddenly material items and things seem mundane.

    I love the birds and nature like you and can spend many hours listening, watching, taking pictures and relaxing amongst it all.

    Thanks for sharing your insights and of course fabulous pictures of all the birds.

  3. Love all your Friends..I have mine..Lost a special one 2 yrs ago to a Car..He was “Big Boy”..The biggest Crow I had ever seen..Bigger than a Hawk..I picked him up from the stret and burried him in the backyard..I miis him..

    • Big Boy sounds amazing and he lives on in your memories and stories. I have George Brokenbeak buried in my garden, wrapped in a linen napkin and with sprigs of lavender. More for my comfort that his, but I like to think he rests peacefully in his old neighbourhood.

  4. June, your blog and photos never cease to amaze me. Such thoughtful musings and your photography speaks for itself. This has indeed been the most trying of weeks, and I am fortunate to not have been directly affected by the flooding and mudslides (unlike a mutual former colleague of ours who, after spending three nights in her vehicle near Hope, was finally airlifted back home thanks to a relative’s company!). Makes one want to stay home and not venture out. Well, maybe just far enough to enjoy some of that nature first hand. If I am lucky, I might catch some flickers chattering away…

  5. Another great post June. I’ve been thinking about it and reading a book this morning I came across a theory which brought Crow Therapy into focus for me. It mentioned the last great flowering of emblematic natural history of the 16th C. where we (Britain/Europe?) could think of all birds and animals as more than ‘just’ creatures – “…each living species at the centre of a rich fabric of associations linking everything that was known about it with everything it meant to humans: matters allegorical, scriptural, proverbial, personal”. That kind of encapsulates Crow Therapy and your wonderful nature observations for me. Thank you. (PS. The book is Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald, who also wrote H is for Hawk. Both good reads).

    • Thanks so much Susan. And I LOVE Helen Macdonald’s writing. I have actually read Vesper Flights, as well as H is for Hawk, but will have to scour it again for the section on that period of 16th C Europe. I does sound like a golden age of crow/nature therapy — although I’m much less poetic, visualizing it as looking at the world through a crow-shaped periscope.

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