Feeding the birds is fun, good mojo, and during the winter, helpful. Did you know that crows actually bond with the humans that feed them?
Crows are unique. They communicate with each other determining who sits where, how they fly, and this includes observing humans and determining if they provide food and how often. One little girl in Seattle feeds crows regularly. As a result, she has bonded with the murder of crows in her neighborhood. Her reward comes in the form of gifts that the crows leave behind in exchange for her generosity.
Eight-year-old Gabi Mann has been feeding her neighborhood crows since 2011. It began purely by accident when Gabi was a toddler. She would drop food, and to her delight, a crow would swoop down and take the treat. As she was prone to dropping food as little ones do, she had her own crow fan club waiting for her to drop another morsel.
As she got older, she shared her packed lunch on the way to the bus stop. The murder would wait for her to come home from school and she would share her leftovers with the crows.
As reported by BBC News, Gabi’s mother, Lisa, didn’t mind that crows consumed most of the school lunches she packed.
“I like that they love the animals and are willing to share,” she said, admitting she never noticed crows until her daughter took an interest in them. “It was a kind of transformation. I never thought about birds.”
The girl and her mother started feeding the crows on a daily basis in 2013. Every morning, they fill the birdbath with fresh water and set out peanuts. This is when the crows began leaving tokens of their appreciation.
“If you want to form a bond with a crow, be consistent in rewarding them,” advises John Marzluff, professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington, told BBC News.
Marzluff specializes in birds, particularly crows and ravens. It is not uncommon for crows to extend gifts to those they have bonded with. In fact, they gift each other, especially during mating season with presents of dead young birds and other symbols of nesting.
Gabi and her mother noticed that the birds were leaving gifts after they started feeding them daily. Young Gabi has saved them all in a keepsake box, with the exception of the rotting crab claw that her mother hastily discarded.
Gabi Mann showed her treasure to a reporter.
“You may take a few close looks,” she said to the Durdur News, “but don’t touch.”
Inside the box are rows of small objects in clear plastic bags. One label reads: “Black table by feeder. 2:30 p.m. 09 Nov 2014.” Inside is a broken light bulb. Another bag contains small pieces of brown glass worn smooth by the sea.
“Beer coloured glass,” as Gabi describes it.
There’s a miniature silver ball, a black button, a blue paper clip, a yellow bead, a faded black piece of foam, a blue Lego piece, a clip that says “BEST” on it, and her personal favorite, a rock that looks like a polished pearl.
The crows have also been helpful, as her mother had accidently dropped a lens cap while photographing the birds. She thought it was lost for good until she saw it returned to her by the birdbath.
As reported by BBC News, Lisa logged on to her computer and pulled up their bird-cam. She saw the suspect crow in action.
“You can see it bringing it into the yard. Walks it to the birdbath and actually spends time rinsing this lens cap.”
“I’m sure that it was intentional,” she smiles. “They watch us all the time. I’m sure they knew I dropped it. I’m sure they decided they wanted to return it.”
Need another feel good animal lover story? Click here.