If you scan my website, or visit me at a show, you will see that a good percentage of my art honors our Western Canadian birds. Among my bird art, many of the birds are part of the corvid family: crows, ravens, magpies and jays.
This can sometimes elicit a strong reaction from people viewing my art. It seems, you either love the corvids or intensely dislike them.
I have bonded instantly with someone who is a fellow crow-lover, and have had many happy dialogues chatting about why we have this in common. On the other hand, I have also been approached by some who say, “I like your artwork, but I do NOT like crows (ravens/magpies…etc).”
“I propose that corvids are not only amongst the most intelligent of birds, but that they may also rival the great apes in cognitive ability.” – Nathan J. Emery, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
For those of us who love corvids, the reasons are many:
- they are incredibly intelligent (witness this BBC video of crows breaking nuts using cars to crack them open, then waiting at a crosswalk for the light so they can retrieve them safely);
- they are beautiful (have you ever looked up close at a magpie feather and seen the shimmer of blue-black?); and
- they are cheeky and have attitude (the way they strut about like they own the place always makes me laugh).
For those who aren’t so found of corvids, I have heard that it mostly has to do with the way they chase other animals (squirrels, cats) and even destroy the nests of other birds. I agree these can be seen as contemptible actions, but these birds have cleverly figured out how to live in urbanized environments, survive using their incredible abilities, and even thrive.
I once had a neighbor pick up my “Magpie Listening” limited edition print at a show, and peer at it for a long time. I thought, “OK. Magpie lover.” She looked up and said, “Before I buy this, I want to know if THIS is the magpie that wakes me up in the morning.” It made my day. We both laughed, and she left with the print despite the fact that those vocal magpies would probably wake her up again the next morning.
I agree that mapies – and also crows, jays and ravens – are extremely vocal, and yes, incredibly LOUD. Maybe it’s because I love them, but when I hear their rough cries, I will always look to find them in the area. And, my kids are adept at recognizing a crow from a raven call. I am passing along the love!
In fact, a quick search on Google reveals several sites dedicated to the love of these birds. Like this lovely blog I found called The Corvid Journal.
Here is a collection of my fine art creations of corvids. If you love crows, ravens, magpies and jays, pop me a line. I’d love to hear from you, too! (To view more of my fine art printmaking processes and additional copies of my artwork, visit my website.)
Limited Edition Fine Art Prints
Original Carved Blocks