My friend Marisa in Vancouver texted me on Monday to ask if I’d seen Shawn Bergman’s emotional facebook post pleading for information on Canuck the Crow who’d gone missing. I barely got through the video, an awful feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, creeping up through my heart and throat. And I didn’t sleep a wink on Monday night. I’m not the only one. He has fans and followers across the country, world wide even.
If I you don’t know the story of Canuck and I, watch this documentary. It’s how I first became acquainted with the very special bond between Shawn and a wild crow and I’ve been following the story on social media ever since.
A couple of months ago, Canuck became a federally protected bird and now wears a numbered leg band to add to the red leg band on his other leg. It’s what will identify him if he’s spotted and as such, a close-up picture of Canuck’s banded legs is being shared throughout social media, a wanted poster of sorts, offering a $10 000 reward for information leading to his safe return home.
I share the photo over and over again because it’s the only thing I can do being closer to the East Coast than the West. Many of my social media contacts have shared it. I write periodically to my new Vancouver friend, Janet, a lover of all things feathered too, and a volunteer at the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary, to ask if there are any leads. She has trouble sleeping too.
What is it about this wild crow that has touched us all so?
Meeting Canuck was on my bucket list of things to do while I was in Vancouver this past April. It certainly was feasible as he used to hang out with Shawn not far from where I was staying. On my last day in Vancouver, I visited Janet and her birds instead. The other to-do item was to visit the Still Creek Rookery in Burnaby, where Canuck and hundreds of other Vancouver crows go to roost each night. That bucket list item was ticked off and folks, it was the most mystical, spiritual experience I’ve ever had. It’s likely Canuck was there that evening. It’s possible I saw him and didn’t know it, a crow shadow on the edge of a building top, or a black bird profile in a tree.
It’s been over a week since Canuck was seen. Is no news good news? That’s what I tell myself to avoid the awful alternative. In the meantime, I will share the wanted photo again and again until there is no hope because doing something, anything, is better than worrying.
Why this bird? Why birds at all? You can read about my reasons In a blog post here.
Or read something better written from this list of favourite books about birds:
- Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation — Kyo Macclear
- Corvus: A Life With Birds — Esther Woolfson
- H Is For Hawk — Helen Macdonad
- Grief Is the Thing With Feathers — Max Porter
- Bird Therapy — Joe Harkness
- The Genius of Birds — Jennifer Ackerman
- The Wonder of Birds — Jim Robbins
- Penguin the Magpie: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family — Bradley Trevor Grieve & Cameron Bloom
I may have forgotten some. Feel free to add your bird-themed recommendations. Joe Harkness writes a blog called Bird Therapy and June Hunter runs The Urban Nature Enthusiast blog and makes beautiful bird art.
And please, do share Canuck’s poster. You never know. As my friend Marisa wrote, “ Thousands of candles can be lighted by a single candle. And the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Wherever Canuck is, he lives on.”