What started as a few crumbs here and there has turned into a daily feeding ritual for Gabi Ann and her family. The crows thank her with little presents.
When Gabi Mann from Seattle was four years old, she started feeding some crows who would stop by her home. As you would assume, she was quite clumsy as a young toddler. She would drop food outside, in her garden and front stoop, quite often. Soon, she noticed a murder of crows would be watching her intensely, waiting for another bite. Eventually, she began feeding them intentionally. Just as her school bus would arrive at her house, the crows would line up for their next meal. By the time the feedings became a daily ritual, the birds started bringing the girl little trinkets as gifts, the BBC reports.
From chicken bones to keys to “art”, across the United States and beyond, people report finding things crows have left where they are fed.— Kaeli Swift, Ph.D. (@corvidresearch) March 15, 2020
Perhaps the most well know for this is Gabi Mann, the girl who gets gifts from the birds. https://t.co/ahODuY1OfB
So far, Gabi has a rather fanciful and quirky collection of presents. She saves them in a bread storage container that no one else is allowed to touch. Inside, she houses small objects in clear plastic bags. The little girl has saved a broken light bulb, small pieces of "beer-colored" glass worn smooth by the sea, a miniature silver ball, a black button, a blue paper clip, a yellow bead, a faded black piece of foam, a blue Lego piece... The list could go on and on. She said in an interview with the BBC, "We keep it in as good condition as we can."
Holding up a pearl-colored heart, she stated, "It's showing me how much they love me." It quickly became her most prized possession. Gabi's mother Lisa is proud of the friendship her daughter - and son who later joined in on his sister's feedings - has cultivated with the crows. Her mother explained, "I like that they love the animals and are willing to share." At first, Lisa never really paid attention to the crows in their backyard or by their front door. It was only when Gabi made a daily ritual out of feeding them that she took notice. "It was a kind of transformation," she said. "I never thought about birds." This also means Lisa doesn't really mind that the crows consume most of her daughter's school lunches.
Over time, Gabi began feeding the crows more than just her school lunch. Each morning, she would fill a birdbath in her backyard with fresh water in addition to covering bird-feeder platforms with peanuts. Her brother would join in, helping the little girl disperse dog food over the grass. Once this became routine, the family noticed the little gifts; They were always "shiny trinkets on the empty tray; an earring, a hinge, a polished rock." While there was no pattern to how the crows would give her these gifts, they were always small and shiny, something that could fit in a crow's beak.
One of Gabi's favorite gifts is a small piece of metal with the word "best" printed across it. Rather amused by the thought of wearing matching necklaces with a crow, she said, "I don't know if they still have the part that says 'friend.'" Her mother's favorite gift, however, is the lens cap she once lost while in the neighborhood. As a photographer, Lisa was out in a nearby alley photographing a bald eagle as it circled overhead when she lost it. When she realized she had lost it, she recalled that she didn't even have to search for it - it was sitting on the edge of their birdbath. She confirmed it was a crow when she checked a camera she had set up to monitor the birds. "You can see it bringing it into the yard. Walks it to the birdbath and actually spends time rinsing this lens cap," the mother shared. "I'm sure that it was intentional. They watch us all the time. I'm sure they knew I dropped it. I'm sure they decided they wanted to return it." What a beautiful bond.