After years of watching her flying friends, June Hunter and the crows are birds of a feather.
June Hunter knows her crows. From cloudy-eyed Mabel to White Wing (who carries one pale feather), Hunter has spent countless hours with the birds in her East Van neighborhood. The motley crew of corvidae inspired Hunter to write her new book, City Crow Storiesnow available online for pre-order.
Part memoir intertwined with scientific tidbits and secular wisdom, City Crow Stories profiles the seven birds Hunter sees most often on her three-day walks.
In addition to Mabel and White Wing, Hunter’s book includes stories about Mr. Walker, who dutifully follows for the occasional peanut; Marvin and Mavis, a couple who lives just outside her front door; Benjamin with the bent back foot; and Pearl, which reminds Hunter of Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Hunter’s own photography accompanies the story that spans 15 years of bird watching.
“I want to encourage people to appreciate the nature that’s next to them now,” Hunter says. “If we could just appreciate our bird neighbors, we’d all be better off.”
Connect with the crows by spending more time outside and just watching their antics. That’s how Hunter got to know her neighbors with inky wings. Her patient observation paid off: Hunter can even tell the jet black birds apart based on their location, behavior and minor distinguishing features. She considers her time with the crows a privilege she did not enjoy before moving to Vancouver.
“I grew up in an industrial place. I didn’t have any birds as a kid,” she says. “Now every bird seems like an incredible luxury to me.”
If Hunter’s book sparks a latent fascination with crows, she suggests taking a trip to their roost in Still Creek.
“I like to go out when I’m feeling a little down about something. I find that crow energy exciting – it’s like feeling an ocean tide.”
Pre-order Hunter’s book online for shipping this month. She also makes jewelry, prints and an annual crow calendar.