With the holiday season upon us, many people find themselves tasked with finding thoughtful gifts for their loved ones. Although birds are seemingly so universally adored that finding bird themed gifts is no trouble, if it’s specific species you’re after, the challenge can be more immense. Fortunately for crow lovers, there are lots of options to choose from if you know where to look. Since you’re looking here, rest easy that half the battle is now over. So sit back, enjoy, and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
Jewelry and apparel
Sometimes you want to wear your passions on your sleeve, literally. Fortunately online marketplaces like Etsy makes this more than possible. A quick search of “crow t-shirt” reveals hundreds of options for any aesthetic. Personally, I like to stick with shirts featuring original art. Here are some of my top Etsy picks:
Kathy Morton Stanion
Outside of Etsy the apparel options can be harder to find but they are out there. Charlie Harper for example, has an awesome screen printed tee that any crow lover will adore.
For jewelry you can turn, once again, to Etsy but there are other options too. June Hunter, who I also recommend elsewhere on this list, has a great collection of corvid themed jewelry. The bonus here is that I can personally attest to the care and passion June has for these birds, so finding something in her shop will not only deem you an awesome gift-finder among your crow friends, but you’ll be supporting the work of someone who is themselves an ardent lover of crows. Your local art galleries can also be great places to find amazing crow themed jewelry. A favorite among my own collection was sourced from the Mary Lou Zeek gallery in Salem, Oregon.
For something more personalized, consider getting a custom embroidered necklace or full size loop from the talented Sarah Buckley. I had her make a custom necklace from one of my favorite jay photos to commemorate my PostDoc research. I couldn’t be happier with the result!
I can’t stress enough here that your city’s art galleries and boutiques can be great places to find local, handmade, and even one of a kind items. Many people (including artists) love crows, which is good news for your brick and mortar shopping prospects. Please, spend your money locally as much as possible. That said, here are some online shopping options that support talented artists:
From prints, to wall art, to totes and calendars, June Hunter has you covered. Her Vancouver based studio celebrates the beauty of urban wildlife, with a special emphasis on crows.
If ever I find myself with a great deal of disposable money, purchasing one of Jason Tennant’s astounding wood carvings will be among my top priorities. Seriously, they’re unbelievable. And wouldn’t luck have it, ravens are a fairly regular subject of his work.
If it’s illustrations and painting you’re after, Etsy is once again a great resource. From acrylic to watercolor, there’s something for everyone. Heck, even if you want something more out of the box like stained glass, you’re bound to find something.
Don’t limit your search to etsy, however as there are lots of great artists that sell via their own websites. Julia Eva Bacon produces stunning oil paintings and has several pieces dedicated to corvids. Although her originals would be worth every penny, you can also buy prints. A luck would have it one of my favorite pieces is actually on sale right now!
- Perhaps the person you are shopping for already has walls covered in corvid paraphernalia and you need to get a little more creative with housewares. Laura Zindel will help you outfit their shelves and table tops with gorgeous ceramics. I own a set of plates and can attest to their beauty and durability.
Books and Education
There are so many excellent books on the topic of corvids that covering them really requires its own post. Fortunately, that post already exists, so I’ll simply direct you to it here.
- Books aren’t the only way, however, to give the gift of knowledge. Back in 2010, PBS first aired their NATURE documentary, A Murder of Crows, which showcases a number of great studies and anecdotes, including the facial recognition work conducted by John Marzluff. Although you can stream the video for free, $18 is a small price to pay for being able to watch it whenever you please, and showing PBS some love.
For the ultimate crow education however, you should consider registering your loved one for the North Cascades Institute’s corvid class that’s offered over the summer. In previous years the class has been co-taught by myself and John Marzluff, but for the 2019 edition I will be the sole instructor. As usual, it’s a two day class complete with lovely and TAG approved accommodations, great food, beautiful scenery, and more information about corvids than you can possibly retain. We often see nearly every species of corvid found in Washington, including ravens, crows, magpies, Clark’s nutcrackers, Steller’s jays and grey jays. Registration for this year won’t open until January or February, but who doesn’t like an IOU for a gift? It is worth noting the class fills up quickly once registration is open so make sure to stay on the ball.
I firmly believe that the indoctrination of crow love into kids should begin early; immediately if possible. Fortunately, Etsy has your back with onesies, night lights, and probably whatever else your imagination can cook up. For stuffies, local children’s stores or nature stores often carry raven or crow themed plush toys including this awesome raven puppet.
There’s no shortage of corvid books aimed at kids either.
10 roudy ravens by Susan Ewing is a counting book great for early readers.
Lila and the crow by Gabrielle Grimard tells the story of a little girl who learns the beauty of being different from her neighborhood crow.
Clever crow by Cynthia De felice uses rhyme to tell the story of a young girl trying to outwit a mischievous crow that is stealing trinkets from her mother. Obviously the biology isn’t a highlight here, but the reviews are otherwise great.
If accurate biology is what you’re after, Crow smarts by Pamela Turner promises to introduce children (and adults!) to the astounding minds of crows.
For a children’s book that is more for adults than kids, consider Aldous Huxley’s The Crows of Pealblossom. Considering that crows and snakes are both often on the receiving end of misguided public vitriol, I’m not a fan that the crows’ triumph comes at the expense of the snake’s grisly end. While the snake’s fate may not be appropriate for sensitive children, any adults that share a love of crows and Huxley’s other works will surely be delighted.
Perhaps your family tradition is that gifts should give back, or you recognize that your recipient would be happier knowing money was spent towards helping crows. The Alalā, or Hawaiian crow, is one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Since 2002, they have been considered extinct in the wild. Thanks to captive breeding efforts by the Alalā project, which is a partnership between San Diego Zoo Global and the Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, eleven individuals were just released into the forests of the Big Island. These kinds of captive breeding and reintroduction programs are the only hope for these birds, but they are expensive. By donating not only can you directly help their cause, but you can demonstrate public interest in keeping this species alive. Currently, there is no way to donate money online but you can do so the old fashion way. Make checks payable to San Diego Zoo Global and put in the memo line that the money is to be directed to the the Hawaiian crow project. I called San Diego Zoo Global to confirm that money can be allocated to the Alalā project specifically. Mail checks to: P.O. Box 120271 San Diego, CA 92112.
With these suggestions in mind, I wish you the best in your search for the perfect gift for the crow lover in your life. Happy hunting and please feel free to mention your own gift suggestions in the comments section.