A Story About a Girl and the Crows Who Love and Spoil Her With Gifts

Gabi Mann loves spending time in her Seattle garden. Apart from tending to the plants, the eight-year-old also loves to look after the crows that visit her–and they return the favor.

Crows Come With Gifts

As reported by the BBC, this human-crow relationship started in 2011 when four-year-old Gabi had the bad habit of dropping delicious food while outside that the crows would then swoop in to eat. Over time, Gabi started purposefully sharing her food with the crows; it got to the point where crows were “lining up in the afternoon to greet Gabi’s bus.” In 2013, Gabi and her mother, Lisa, started to offer them food as part of a daily ritual. Their crow-friendly garden was also always equipped with fresh water and bird-feeder platforms that were draped in peanuts. To make their garden extra appetizing, Gabi would also throw bits of dog food in the grass. While Gabi got things ready, the crows could be heard all the way from the telephone lines calling out — maybe they’re asking when breakfast would be.

And then something unexpected happened. The crows started leaving Gabi and her mom gifts in the bird feeder. There was no theme or pattern in the gifts. It could be a shiny earring one day or a rotting crab claw the next day. The only constant was that Gabi treasured each and every gift from her crow friends. She even treasured the gesture of the rotting crab claw, but, for obvious reasons, Lisa had to properly dispose of that. Gabi is fiercely protective of her prized (individually wrapped, labelled, dated and categorized) collection, as she says: “You may take a few close looks, but don’t touch.”

The special relationship that the family has developed with the crows goes beyond physical objects. While the Mann family records their interactions via constant photographs and a bird-cam, the crows are constantly observing and looking after them, too. While photographing a bald eagle in their neighborhood, Lisa accidentally lost a lens cap in a neighborhood alley. She had given up on finding the lens cap, and that’s when she saw it “sitting on the edge of the birdbath.” The bird-cam confirmed what we’re all thinking: a crow brings the cap into the yard, walks up to the birdbath and gently rinses the cap before placing the item down.

Cultivating a Relationship With a Crow

And you don’t have to be jealous of this special human-crow relationship. As reported by the BBC, professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington, John Marzluff, explains bonds with crows are more common than you might expect. And there’s a very simple way to earn a crow’s trust: “be consistent in rewarding them.”

In one of Marzluff’s crow studies, he and a colleague found that crows and people can form very deep personal relationships, “There’s definitely a two-way communication going on there. They understand each other’s signals.” Like humans, crows build bonds and relationships through food. Marzluff recommends using peanuts with shells to cultivate a relationship with a crow because the sound of putting out the peanuts is easy for the crow to hear, and it’s a high-energy packed food.

Crows and Their Complex Intelligence

These human-crow relationships require more than habits and routine. Crows are complex creatures, and they like to be treated well and respected.

In her story about crows, Susan Bird gives us a few examples of crow intelligence:

  • Crows make and use their own tools.
  • Crows can conspire and convey information to each other. They’re in constant communication: “how they fly, how close they walk, and where they sit” is communication, says BBC.
  • Crows can remember locations where people shot at them…from years ago.
  • Crows don’t forget faces, and they’ll fill in the group. It might be a good idea to stay on a crow’s good side.
  • Crows are about as smart as the average seven-year-old human child.

And the similarities between us and crows don’t end there. As KCTS9 reports, researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that crows might also have funerals. Early information suggests that when they gather it’s more about investigating the situation and dangers in that area, but researchers haven’t shelved the idea that the birds are also experiencing emotions–like grief, sadness, or just feeling bad.

Do you have an interesting story about a crow? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: DaveW99999

96 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Tia T.
Tia T4 years ago

Time for me to go out and make some crow "peeps".

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Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

What a nice story. Thanks for posting.

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Y TWO WEEK AWAY Wey
Yvonne Wey4 years ago

Amazing story Crows are beautifull birds and intelligent I hope she has many years together with her feathered friends thanks for sharing this article

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M.N. J.
M.N. J4 years ago

Crows are amazing and wonderful, but I hate it when they muscle out ALL the other birds in a neighborhood.

Among their less-charming proclivities are cannibalism and consuming the nestlings of other bird species.

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Marija Mohoric
Marija M4 years ago

tks for sharing

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Dawn W.
Dawnie W4 years ago

Amazing story, crows are extremely intelligent. Marvelous relationship between this young girl and family, so nice to read such an inspirational tale of communication and respect between beautiful birds and people. I so enjoyed this story and I thank you for sharing and posting. . .

♥(✿◠‿◠✿)♥*♥˚☻Love & Peace☻go with☻you all.☻˚♥*♥(✿◠‿◠✿)♥

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Ahlam Zaid
Ahlam Zaid4 years ago

In my country most of people think that Crows bring bad luck but actually they bring gifts instead :)

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Lucy S.
Lucy S4 years ago

I liked this story very much. It's neat that this child has such a natural connection with nature.

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