When we feed birds that visit our gardens, we don’t expect anything in return because we believe they don’t reciprocate the affection and love we give them. However, a young girl from Seattle is probably luckier than all of us. She feeds the crows that come to her garden and they bring her gifts in return.

Gabi Mann is an eight-year-old girl who owns a bead storage container where she keeps her most precious collection.

There are small objects in plastic bags, such as a broken light bulb, small pieces of brown glass, a black button, a small silver ball, a yellow bead, a blue paper clip, a blue Lego piece and so on. Most of these items are dirty and scuffed.

This unusual assortment of objects is more valuable for Gabi than gold itself because she didn’t gather it on her own. Each of the items was a gift that crows gave to her.

Gabi’s most favorite gift is a pearl-colored heart which shows her how much the birds love her.
Her relationship with crows started in 2011 when she was only 4 years old. She regularly dropped some food to the crows in her neighborhood and soon they started to look for her in the hope they would get more food.

As she got older, she started to share her school lunch with the birds while going to the bus stop. Soon, crows have started to line up each afternoon to greet Gabi’s bus and wait for another feeding session.

Her mother didn’t mind that Gabi shared her food with crows. She even said she is proud of her daughter’s willingness to share her food with the birds. Also, she admitted she had never had an interest in birds until seeing her daughter feeding them.

In 2013, they both started to offer crows food as a daily routine rather than just dropping scrapes occasionally.
In the mornings, they put some water in the backyard birdbath and handfuls of peanuts in the bird-feeder platforms.

Gabi also throws dog food on the grass. While they work in the garden, crows gather together on the telephone lines and start calling them loudly.

After adopting this routine, the gifts started to appear. After clearing the feeder of peanuts, crows left shiny trinkets on the empty container, such as a polished rock, an earring, a hinge and a lot of other shiny and small gifts that could fit in a crow’s beak.

One day Gabi found a tiny metal piece with the word “best” printed on it. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if a crow will bring in its beak the matching piece with the word “friend” printed on it.

A professor of wildlife science who specializes in birds, especially ravens and crows, John Marzluff, says that if people want to build a bond with a crow, they need to be consistent in feeding and rewarding them.

Peanuts in the shell are the best food you can offer to crows. They boost their energy and make noise when you throw them, which helps the birds to habituate to your routine very quickly.

In some of his studies, professor Marzluff has found out that crows and people can build a very strong and personal relationship. The love is reciprocated and they understand each other’s signals.

The crows communicate by the way they fly, sit or walk and they learn their feeder’s posture and patterns. According to the professor, crows sometimes leave presents. They don’t always give presents and if they do, they are rarely shiny objects.

Crows sometimes may give dead baby birds to people as gifts. Gabi has received a similar present as well, such as a rotting crab claw.

One of her most favorite objects is a rusted screw. She likes it because crows carry screws only if they try to build their own house.

Gabi’s mum, Lisa, takes photos of crows regularly and charts their interactions and behavior. The most amazing gift for her came just a couple of weeks ago. Namely, she lost her lens cap in an alley not far away while she was photographing a bald eagle that circled over her neighborhood.

When she came home, her lens cap was right into the birdbath in her backyard. She pulled up the bird-cam and saw a crow bringing the lens cap into the yard.

Lisa and Gabi believe it was intentional because the crows watch them all the time. Also, these birds can remember the faces of people who are so kind.