15 February 2019
Four years ago in Seattle, eight year old Gabi Mann consistently fed and interacted with the crows in her backyard. She formed such a tight bond that she could recognize individual crows by sight and gave them names. The crows rewarded her by bringing gifts.
Many animals give gifts to members of their own species but crows and other corvids are the only ones known to give gifts to humans. As John Marzluff explains in the video below, crows will do this for people who feed them a lot and pay attention to them, or even rescue them.
When I read about this several years ago in Marzluff’s book Gifts of the Crow, I briefly thought about trying to make friends with crows but decided it would be a difficult relationship. If your friendship with crows is based on food they remember your generosity and bring their friends. Lots of friends. They can be quite demanding and don’t understand when you stop feeding them. Not everyone appreciates this.
Gabi’s story made international news in February 2015 but we don’t hear about it anymore. Six months after the video was filmed two of Gabi’s neighbors sued, demanding $200,000 and a court order prohibiting the Mann family from putting out more than a 1/4 pound of bird food. It took a year to settle the lawsuit. The details were not made public.
Crows remember the faces of those who are mean to them and those who are especially kind. I’m sure that a few special crows remember Gabi.
(video embedded from BBC on YouTube)