For years, Canuck the Crow has been notorious in Vancouver. The most famous avian resident of East Vancouver is well-known for his acts of mischief, which include halting mail delivery, riding public transit (without a ticket!), and even stealing a knife from a crime scene.
But Canuck’s days of delinquency may be over, as he finally has a reason to stay out of trouble: hatching season. Yes, Canuck has become a father.
Shawn Bergman, Canuck’s closest human friend, told CTV that Canuck and his mate Cassiar had been tending to a nest together for weeks before their eggs hatched earlier this month.
“[Cassiar is] going through what looks like a lot of feeding motions,” said Bergman, “bending down feeding and coming back up and looking at what I assume to be the young in the nest, and going back down to feed again.”
Since his babies were born, Canuck has been a new crow. Like all parents, he seems tired and distracted, seemingly without the time or energy for his usual antics. But of course, parenthood has its own rewards.
“Whenever Canuck goes back to the nest, he looks quite proud,” Bergman said. “He sits on the edge the nest looking down–he looks like a proud papa.”
Bergman first met Canuck after he fell out of his nest as a hatchling. Bergman and his landlord fed him and helped keep him alive. Though Canuck isn’t a pet, and he’s free to come and go as he pleases, he does seem more accustomed than most to interacting with humans. He even has his own Facebook page, maintained by Bergman, and has become a celebrity due to his frequent run-ins with locals.
Recently that page has been filled with heartwarming posts about Canuck and Cassiar’s journey through parenthood. In a “nest watch” update, Bergman wrote about the care the crows have put into feeding their babies. “I have been fortunate enough to witness up close how meticulous both Canuck and Cassiar are when it comes to both cleaning the food as well as making sure the food is in tiny pieces to feed little mouths. The whole process has been amazing to watch.”
But some say that fatherhood won’t necessarily mellow Canuck. In fact, it might make him more aggressive.
“Especially where there are crows this time of year, you have to keep your head up,” said Jim O’Leary, the creator of CrowTrax, an interactive tool for tracking crow attacks (people reporting attacks are even asked, “Was it Canuck the crow?”). Crows are often known to swoop at people who get too close to their young, even walking down nearby streets.
But Canuck is very accustomed to people, so it’s hard to predict how he’ll react to them being in his territory. “He hasn’t started attacking many people to defend the nest, but we’ll see how that goes now that the babies are in the nest,” Bergman said.