This Little Girl Has Received Dozens Of Thank You Gifts From The Crows She Feeds
It started about four years ago, when Gabi Mann was a just your average four-year-old girl ran around her Seattle yard carefree, dropping food all over the place without even thinking about it. The crows who made their homes in the nearby trees would swoop in and pick up a stray McNugget here or a french fry there. Eventually, the birds started keeping an eye out for the rambunctious little food dispenser.
When Gabi noticed them hanging out and waiting for her to drop food, she started doing it on purpose. The crows rewarded this behavior with more attention, and Gabi rewarded their attention with more food.
Two years ago, Gabi and her mother Lisa started feeding the crows as part of their daily routine. Fresh water in the birdbath, peanuts on the bird feeder, handfuls of dog food strewn about the grass. The crows came to rely on this food. To genuinely appreciate it. And it wasn't long before the gifts started appearing.
Buttons and beads, nuts and bolts, metal balls and Lego pieces. Gabi keeps the thank you gifts she's received from her crow friends like pieces of treasure, neatly catalogued inside plastic bags inside a segmented storage container.
"It's showing me how much they love me," Gabi, now eight-years-old, explained to a reporter from the BBC while proudly presenting a pearl-colored heart one of the birds gave her.
These tiny, usually colorful or shiny gifts are left behind by the crows after they clear the bird feeder of the food left out for them. Ornithologist and author of the book Gifts of the Crow John Marzluff has heard many similar stories of humans bonding with crows and being rewarded for their generosity.
According to Marzluff, crows regularly collect bright, shiny objects, so it's always possible that these objects so much as possessions that were accidentally left behind after the crows were finished eating.
So, that's one possible explanation. But look at this little girl. Look at that smile. She's never given me anything, and I'm thinking about mailing her shiny bead.