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(Mark Hamilton Photo)

I’ve been working in Burnaby for a year now. Our office is just down the road from the Gilmore SkyTrain station which is near Still Creek. Every evening, across the Lower Mainland, thousands of crows are seen crossing the skies at dusk, heading towards Burnaby’s Still Creek area where they gather to roost. This phenomenon also occurs at dawn just before the sun comes up as they gather to go looking for food. I often walk into this creepy scenario on my way to work in the morning, or after work on the way home.

On Christmas Eve morning I happened to have my iPhone ready and managed to capture some video of these birds. The footage above doesn’t quite do it justice but you can see just how many birds there are and how loud they are.

Burnaby BC, Kingdom of the Black Crows at Still Creek
(Photo CorvusArt)

The bird shit falls like rain showers. Many women actually carry umbrellas to avoid getting hit, as Jennifer Moreau explains in her very interesting Burnaby Now article “As the Crow Flies, A Special Report” about this huge murder of crows. (Update: The Burnaby Now article seems to have disappeared. Here’s a Province article on it: Murder mystery: The reason why 6,000 crows flock to Burnaby every night)

Below are videos that others caught of the Burnaby Crows. The second is really quite good.

Daman Beatty
The creator of Surrey604.com, Daman Beatty (AKA 'Beatler') is originally from Sackville, New Brunswick. A longtime blogger, visual designer, marketing and communications specialist, Daman loves travel, tech and photography. He has taught online marketing at BCIT, and Brighton College and is also the Marketing Manager for Microsoft Education Partner, CCI Learning.
Daman Beatty
Daman Beatty
Daman Beatty

15 COMMENTS

  1. Goodness!   How noisy they are and so many of them.   It looks quite chaotic….like they really do not know where they are going…..not like the sandpipers with their elegant movements….Very interesting…Thank you for sharing. 

  2. Hi Daman,
    I saw this when I attended BCIT a few years back. Just over a year ago I took a serious interest in corvids and began building relationships with some -many crows and a couple of ravens. I’m sharing your excellent page on FaceBook. Thank you so very much for this wonderful page!

  3. It’s interesting that you mention you see this phenomenon every evening & at dawn too. I’ve seen similar gatherings of crows come evening, winging their way from all across Mission (in the Fraser Valley) to some place down by the river. But I’ve only seen it happen in late fall, winter & early spring. I’ve never seen it during warmer months.

    I assumed they didn’t gather then as adults are busy raising young. Possible if some older siblings might be helping too. Because I didn’t see them gather then doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen but I wonder if the numbers are much less then. Your opinion on this?

    I watch crows a lot & they watch me too. Those in my neighbourhood regard me as an enemy, unfortunately, because I feed a neighourhood tom that the owners left behind when they moved. And a number of local raccoon mothers who are familiar & comfortable with me bring their kits around to show me. The mothers come, looking for a few handouts of dog kibble, grapes & for the fresh clean water I always leave out for all visiting animals. The crows sit & watch these activities from the large Douglas fir in my backyard. I can always tell when raccoons or cats are coming by the fuss the crows make & keep my ear attuned to their ‘conversations’ to let me know. To the crows, they likely view any friend of their enemies to be their personal enemy too. They’re not even pleased to see me alone when I go out!

    • Jude, I no longer work in Burnaby so I haven’t experienced this in the summer. Now that you mention it I am curious if they do it in the summer. The sun goes down so much later in the summer as well.

      Wow you sure are in tune with the wilderness. I’d love for you to share with me some photos of those baby raccoons and such!

      Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply, Daman! So you only observed crows gathering in late fall, winter or very early spring then, not during the nesting period? The male-female bond that is formed is very strong, often lasting for life, and is formed between newly adult crows during these mass gatherings in the winter. Crows can choose among the many for a suitable mate. Older already bonded pairs gather with the unbounded crows in winter too. Makes me wonder if the older bonded pairs don’t somehow help or influence their adult offspring during these gatherings to choose a ‘good’ mate. There’s so much about crows we don’t understand still.

        I came across this post of yours by a link of Sean McMann’s blog and his crow portraits as he has a Flickr account. I’ve got LOTS of raccoon photos of young adult, mothers and kits on Flickr. I’ve been photographing and documenting their visits for five years now. You can check out my photos and stories on Flickr without having an account there. You can check out my entire set on raccoons at
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/judesjewels/sets/72157626687941728/
        If you do have a Flickr account, feel free to comment on them. I always read comments and if someone asks a question, I’ll answer it.

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