A child in Seattle receives gifts from the crows that visit her backyard

Many of us love the wild birds that visit our yard. One lucky girl receives this adoration in return.

Oct 25, 2019 |
4 min read

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If you’re lucky enough to have a yard that attracts birds, you’ll understand the simple pleasure of feeding our feathered friends. Birdsong in the morning is always welcome, after all.

Gabi Mann, a young girl from Seattle, has a particularly special bond with the birds in her garden. When crows visit her property, Gabi makes sure they have something to eat.

In return, the flying visitors leave gifts in the yard for Gabi. Essentially, it seems that Gabi Mann is a real-life animated Disney princess, able to communicate with our feathered chums. Whether or not she sings herself is unconfirmed.

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I’m a bit concerned about this – aren’t crows potentially dangerous?

Crows can be territorial. Once they find an area they like, they’ll typically stick around. This means that, yes, they can be dangerous to humans if they consider us a threat.

Photo by Lisa Mann

Crows have excellent memories and hold grudges like a champ. If a crow recognizes and remembers you as an adversary, you’ll be attacked every time you cross paths.

Fortunately for Gabi, she has forged an effective relationship with her aspiring avian antagonists. This does not necessarily mean that anybody should attempt to forge a friendship with crows, though.

If the birds consider your yard to be their territory, they may not be willing to share. They could also misinterpret your intentions.

If a crow thinks that you mean them harm, they’ll scratch and claw without a second thought. The problem won’t end here, either. If neighboring crows notice the fracas, they’ll join in. Even if the crows don’t get along under normal circumstances, the enemy of their enemy is their friend.

Photo by Lisa Mann

The good news is that crows can also be our allies. You may be fed up with crows munching on your flowerbeds, but these birds also keep the insect and pest population under control. If crows nest on your property, leave them be.

If you leave crows alone, they’ll likely return the favor. Mess with them during nesting season, however, and they’ll strike with a fiery vengeance. A group of crows is not called a murder for nothing.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Like many great relationships, Gabi’s bond with crows was initially forged by accident. As a youngster, Gabi had a tendency to drop food whenever she was out and about. This did not go unnoticed by the crow population.

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As discussed, crows remember and differentiate between humans. They started to watch Gabi, waiting for her to drop another morsel.

This delighted the young Gabi, who started to actively share the contents of her packed lunch – as did the rest of her family.

Photo by Lisa Mann

Before long, crows hung around the bus stop that served the family’s route to school. It sounds like a cuddly scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Naturally, this evolved into welcoming the crows into the family’s backyard. Food and water are left out daily, and the crows understood that this kindly family would feed them.

As a result, the birds started to return the favor and leave gifts for Gabi as an expression of their gratitude. After a while, Gabi began collating and treasuring her collection as a memento of her bond.

So what gifts are we talking about here?

Calm down – the crows are not leaving Tiffany bracelets or Amazon gift cards. These tokens of esteem included broken light bulbs, beer bottles, buttons, beads, Lego bricks, and the occasional piece of mismatched jewelry.

It’s hardly a haul that makes for a happy holiday stocking. As the old saying goes, however, it’s the thought that counts. The symbolic nature of these gifts is critical. It’s an expression of affection from crows toward a human, which is difficult to achieve.

Photo by Lisa Mann

Photo by Lisa Mann

Crows may tolerate us if we treat them well. That’s often the extent of the relationship, though. In a crow’s mind, they are prepared to accept that you live in their territory, making a mess. That’s often as far as it goes.

Even if you do bond with a murder of crows, don’t necessarily expect shiny trinkets. The birds may treat you to the same gifts that they would present to a mate. This could mean small, dead animals or dismembered animal body parts.

If you’re lucky, however, you’ll forge a firm friendship. Gabi’s mother was delighted when she lost the lens cap to an expensive camera, only for a crow to find it and deposit in the backyard birdbath.

Connecting with wild birds isn’t easy, but it can be rewarding. And even if it isn’t, take it from us – you’d rather have crows as your friend than your enemy.

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