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Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban…

Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness

by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

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2371275,412 (3.88)13
A scholarly tribute to crow life and mythology explains how increasing crow populations are reflecting various ecological imbalances while providing opportunities to connect with the animal world.



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The first book I read by [a: Lyanda Lynn Haupt|16810|Lyanda Lynn Haupt|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1248017975p2/16810.jpg] was [b: The Urban Bestiary|17333244|The Urban Bestiary Encountering the Everyday Wild|Lyanda Lynn Haupt|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1364181383s/17333244.jpg|24064548]. I had gotten the book in an effort to learn more about the urban wildlife that could potentially be found where I live, outside of DC, in an effort to go into my wildlife rehabilitation position better informed than I otherwise would have been. I ended up getting far more than I bargained for - a brilliant look into eco-philosophy, what it means to live harmoniously with nature, and how vital a perspective change in general is to harbor more positive relations between us and the world we are very much a part of (and too often apart of.)

[b: Crow Planet|6438710|Crow Planet Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness|Lyanda Lynn Haupt|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1344263351s/6438710.jpg|6628596] is indeed a book about crows, but it is also about a great deal more. In looking at how crows live alongside humans, and how their numbers and ranges tend to mirror that of humans in much the same way that, say, Norway Rats do we can get a better idea of our impact upon the world and what it may look at if only the more adaptable species end up surviving. Crows do not so much displace songbirds and other more delicate species as take advantage of their displacement by other means. They thrive where humans thrive, because we tend to make environments more conducive to them. What does that say about us?

[b: Crow Planet|6438710|Crow Planet Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness|Lyanda Lynn Haupt|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1344263351s/6438710.jpg|6628596] is as much about our current situation as it is a quiet hope that we don't end up in a planet where the primary bird that exists is indeed the crows of the world. It's equal parts admiration for them and awareness of what they are portents of. There is a lot to learn about crows in the book, and to admire, respect, and acknowledge. There's also so much more, and like with [b: Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants|9824|Rats Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants|Robert Sullivan|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1438168919s/9824.jpg|2147695] we learn a lot of our own history and ways to potentially, and joyfully improve ourselves and the world around us. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
The author/naturalist lives in West Seattle and, in this book, writes as much about how to observe and think about nature in an urban setting as she does about crows. I loved the parts about crows. ( )
  gbelik | Aug 26, 2017 |
Good book by an author living in West Seattle. First half was excellent and the send half too preachy. ( )
  ronsea | Aug 23, 2013 |
“Once I saw a crow sitting on a wire as a gentle breeze loosed a cloud of cherry blossom petals. She tried, like a playful cat, to catch the petals one at a time with her bill as they drifted by. Once after a rare Seattle snow, I saw two crows standing up to their bellies in snowfall. They gathered the snow on their heads and tossed it up, then jumped after it with their bills as it fell around them, enjoying the novelty in very much the same manner as Claire and I were. These stories might not be suitable for a scientific journal, but they are fitting for our own field notebooks, for our naturalist’s diaries, for the tales we tell, and for the private places where we keep and treasure our own observations of the wild earth’s wonders, whether they occur thousands of times over or are written only once.” (page 82)

Haupt writes lyrically and personally about the intelligence and adaptability of crows, yet she also tells her own story of life in the “urban wilderness.” As a naturalist and writer, I resonated with her list of naturalist qualities, including the propensity to “name things,” to “cultivate an obsession,” and to “carry a notebook.” I name flora and fauna and even keep lists of favorite road names for future stories. I cultivate an obsession for the natural history and community of a small island in the Salish Sea. I always carry a notebook to record my observations and keep lists, from the mundane of groceries to the excitement of a birding expedition.

She delves into the ways of naturalists and poets and the inspiration that walking brings: “Walker-thinkers have found various ways to accommodate the gifts of imagination that their walking brings.” Henry David Thoreau, Meriwether Lewis, and Mary Oliver all walked to both observe and to inspire writing. I, too, find walking or wandering jump-starts my muse.

Most of all, I admire Haupt’s focus on the fact that we can “naturalize” anywhere, be it our back gardens, neighborhood parks, or city streets. We can all cultivate a respect for the wild beings who share our world, by learning about them and devising humane ways to discourage them from getting into trouble in our ever-expanding human sprawl. We can live alongside crows and raccoons, slugs and spiders, allowing them to help us by consuming pests, allowing them to live their lives as co-inhabitants of our planet. Read Crow Planet and learn not only about crows and other urban wildlife, but about yourself as well. ( )
  bookwren | Jul 17, 2013 |
Perhaps the best book on our relation to everything else on earth I have read since reading "A Sand County Almanac", which Haupt refers to more than once in these reflective essays. I am watching the world out my window, and on my walks, more closely and more contemplatively since reading this book. ( )
  nmele | Jul 8, 2013 |
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For my radiant daughter, Claire

--a friend to slugs, spiders, birds, and the wild earth
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By all rights, I should never see the crow who perches almost daily on the electrical wire just beyond my study window.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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