Birds are what Vancouver is all about this week, as both the Vancouver International Bird Festival and the 27th International Ornithological Congress flock to the city to talk about, well, birds.

And all this activity comes hot on the heels of the poll conducted by Justin McElroy to establish the unofficial brand ambassador for Vancouver.

It wasn’t Mayor Gregor Robertson (who failed to make it out of the first round), nor adopted son and hockey great Trevor Linden. With thousands of Twitter votes cast, and capturing 81 per cent of them, Canuck the Crow “defeated” Michael J. Fox for the championship.

Should you be unaware, Canuck the Crow is a human-reared crow living on the east side, and making his presence known to the locals, including neighbourhood friends, such as those delivering the mail and local passers-by. He was also implicated in a police investigation for taking a knife away from a crime scene, supposedly because it was shiny and he liked it. Canuck the Crow also has his own twitter account.

To celebrate the two bird conferences, artist Cameron Cartiere, who teaches at Emily Carr University, has worked with the public and at community centres to create over 6,000 fledglings from molds. Why 6,000? That represents the number of crows who fly around the city and settle at night. The clay crows will be travelling to different community centres where they will be available to the public to take home.

Jessica Kerr with the Richmond News outlines two other projects involving the bird conferences and public artist Cartiere. “Nesting Nests” worked with the community to weave nests out of invasive plant materials. “On the Wing” is a film that will be screened out doors using a projector mounted on a tricycle.

And just because it’s Vancouver and we’re on the subject, “The Birds”, by Myfanwy MacLeod , are returning to Olympic Village after their October 2017 removal for a trip to Calgary, and then China, for some much-needed rejuvenation; Price Tags covered their flight

Produced as part of the Olympic Public Art budget, The Birds are much-loved and are very much welcomed back; intended to provide scale in the square, they were not necessarily intended to be something that kids of all ages climbed up and slid down on. But, as you can hear from the YouTube clip below, that is indeed part of their perceived and continuing purpose.

Both the 27th International Ornithological Congress and the first-ever Vancouver International Bird Festival run August 19 to 26.


  1. Despite the history of damage from sliding, grimy feet and skateboard abuse it doesn’t appear that any measures are being taken to protect the birds from a repeat of their past fate. Without something to discourage those abuses, such as having a very uneven hard surface below their tails, it looks like past lessons have not been learned.

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