There are crows everywhere you look in Vancouver, and they always seem to be doing something that gets your attention.
If they're not tossing the contents of unsecured garbage bins around, looking for snacks, or digging up lawns while looking for chafer beetle grubs, they're waking you with their alarm cries early in the morning or, notoriously, dive-bombing pedestrians or luckless cats who venture underneath their nests in the spring.
One of them, Canuck the crow—the SkyTrain-riding, knife-stealing, hitchhiking avian celebrity—even became a bit of an international ambassador for three years before disappearing in the summer of 2019.
No matter what your feelings are toward our resident northwestern crow (Corvus caurinus), you have probably been intrigued by the sight of streams of the intelligent and gregarious omnivores flocking eastward across the darkening city sky every evening in the fall and winter. The dark rivulets join with other tributaries until a massive black torrent, thousands strong, finally settles down in its nighttime roost in Burnaby's Still Creek neighbourhood.
There, between 6,000 and 20,000 or more corvids converse, preen, squabble, hide from predators, and maybe find mates for the upcoming nesting season, all after a day spent feeding and generally raising hell on Vancouver and the North Shore's beaches, parks, and neighbourhood lawns.
If you haven't visited this location, which has been in use by local crows since the 1970s, an East Vancouver nonprofit, the Still Moon Arts Society, will guide you there by bicycle.
The annual Crow Roost Twilight Bike Ride, which Still Moon has been conducting for several years now, happens next in about two weeks' time, on March 7 (a Saturday). It's free and all-ages friendly.
This is the time of year, shortly before breeding and nesting time, when the roost's numbers will be the highest.
Ride participants will meet at 5 p.m. in East Van, where Garden Drive meets Central Valley Greenway, on the north side of the Grandview Cut and a block west of Nanaimo Street.
Dress for the weather (or the occasion, as some crow-costumed riders do every year), and remember that you will be riding home in the dark, so come prepared with reflectors, lights, etcetera.
Speakers will share crow info and there will be some songs just before cyclists ride out at about 5:30.
Check the Still Moon Facebook page in case the weather necessitates cancellation.