Crow Talk on Hornby Island

As you know from my last post, I was a little nervous about my talk on Crow Watching for the Hornby Island Natural History Society.

I’m happy to report that all went very well, despite my jitters. The hall was full — the first time they’d needed to use every chair in the place — and everyone was very friendly and crow-curious. We had a couple of small Wi-fi wobbles when using my phone as a remote to advance the images made the whole show freeze up. Luckily, Phillip and I had discussed what to do in such an eventuality. Like the experienced CBC radio producer he is, he leapt up with his “normal programming will be resumed as soon as possible” announcement, followed by, instead of soft jazz, his own effort at crow calls. He was a big hit with the audience and now I think he only needs a proper crow outfit to be a scheduled part of the presentation.

I also kept forgetting to keep the microphone near my mouth, but, oh well …

Here’s the outline I created for my talk …

The hardest part of the presentation is trying to corral my many, varied, existential, metaphorical and sometimes just silly, thoughts about crows into under a thousand words. I went back to my crow typewriter image as a summary.

I often feel that words fail us. The number of blog posts I write and delete in trying to say what I want to say about crows in words, is one example. On a wider scale, with the rise of “fake news: and alternative facts,” words in general, seem to be a source of frustration at this particular time in human history.

In my portrait images I try to mediate a direct crow to human contact. In my thoughts about what I’m aiming for, I envisioned a typewriter that could transmit crow thoughts, unfiltered by my own human “static.”

Of course, the fact that I’m using just another “word machine” — the typewriter — to express this thought is a joke on me too. Even more hilarious, the amount of time I spent creating a “crowphabet.”

And, it must be said, I’m far from the first person to envision crows (and ravens) as important messengers between heaven and humanity. From time immemorial, countless Indigenous stories have told the same tale.

Another Crow Watching Talk Coming Up …

I know many of you were sad you couldn’t be at the Hornby Island presentation, but I will be doing another one, via Zoom (so available everywhere) for the Stanley Park Ecological Society on September 13, starting at 5:30 Pacific Time. They haven’t put the event on their web site yet, but when they do, you’ll be able to reserve a spot. I’ll let you know when they make it available to book.

A little mystery project I’m working on …

And lastly, a thanks in “crow” for the many kind comments on the blog and all the support for my photography and other work over the last decade and a half!

9 thoughts on “Crow Talk on Hornby Island

  1. I look forward to your blog very much. Your insight about crow behavior helps me understand the crows that visit my backyard. Candy Freemon, Prior Lake, MN

  2. I like your mystery project! Enjoyed your post.. I will try to tune into your Zoom presentation in September.

  3. Your art is a delight and I so enjoy all of it. Your writing is a lovely blend of bird news, the seasons and your rumination about life and the world that blend so beautifully together—even when it’s not happy news. I hope to join the zoom next month as I’d love to hear you “in person”.

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