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Vancouver Suburb Burnaby Loves Its Crows

Burnaby Crows by Magalie L’Abbé

When crows pick a town to roost in, locals tend to react badly. They think it’s spooky, worry about guano and try to do ridiculous things to drive them off–like shoot them. But one Canadian city sees it another way. Burnaby, BC, loves its crow roost. Thousands of crows have been sleeping together in the seaside town east of Vancouver since at least the 1970s.

“If you go around dusk they cover the sky,” says Kelsey Downey, marketing coordinator for Tourism Burnaby. “I used to go to school right in the area and it’s a pretty amazing site.”

The crows fly eastward over the city at dusk. They’re more concentrated in the winter. And they tend to be seen most around Willingdon Avenue, which is an exit off Highway 1. Downey recommends checking out Still Creek Drive, which runs next to the highway.

Burnaby sticks up for their crows. Kirsten Starcher, who writes the blog Crows to Burnaby [which is really more about arts than crows] is just one of the residents who fretted when a Costco displaced one of the big roost sites in 2006 about how it would impact their crows. “It was sad to lose it,” one crow fan told the Vancouver Sun at the time. Another protested on YouTube.

About 500 students each painted their own model crow for an art project Along the Flight Path, that fixed the crows to a fence.  A Vancouver tourism site boasted that the Northwestern Crow was the most conspicuous local bird and that Burnaby had “easily the most amazing gathering in the province.” says the Burnaby is “one of the most renowned crow roosts.” It’s great to see a town that appreciates its wildlife.

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