This was the scene on Tuesday evening during the first major summer thunderstorm since July of 2009.
Every evening before sunset, the crows in Vancouver fly eastward toward their roost in Burnaby. They always take the same route. They fly in from the west, passing through Yaletown, following False Creek to the Grandview cut in East Van before heading further east to BCIT.
For years I’ve admired this daily ritual of crows flying home. I used to live on the 22nd floor of a Yaletown apartment where the crows would fly past at eye-level. It’s always consistent. Hundreds if not thousands of crows fly past every evening, always timed exactly – rain or shine – at that precise moment before sunset when the sky changes its hue. One evening, upon observing the crows navigating their way through downtown condo towers, I dubbed their route the “crow corridor”. It seemed fitting, their invisible highway in the sky.
I have since moved to a humble abode off Commercial Drive, yet still live under the crow corridor. And it was on Tuesday evening around 7pm as the fork lightning flashed and the rain started to pour, that the crows flew home overhead. But as the rain got heavier and more intense, the crows did something I’ve never seen them do. They did a 180 degree turn around and flew into the nearest covering: a tree that grows in the alley behind my house. It was there where they waited out the worst of the storm. When the rain eased up, they began to disperse out of the tree, continuing their journey home along the crow corridor as if nothing had happened.