the birds and the …

trinkets? We’ve all heard that some birds, especially crows, are attracted to trinkets. But to hear that a murder of crows (no, not that kind of murder … murder is the term for a group of crows) recognize that trinkets can be a gift of gratitude to us humans … well, that’s a strange bird (or birds, as the case may be)!

Kuznetsova by Repin, 1901

In Seattle, Washington, little 8-year-old Gabi Mann seems to have a flock of admirers, right in her own backyard. It all started when Gabi was just 4 years old, and the neighborhood crows, ever alert, noticed that Gabi tended to drop yummy things to eat. Gabi noticed too, and by the time she started school, she also started sharing bits of her packed lunch with the crows while waiting for the bus. Then, she and her mom started regularly feeding the crows in the backyard. That’s when they began noticing little presents left behind on the feeder … beads, rocks, buttons, and more.


Photo, Lisa Mann

So many presents that they now fill a 32-compartment bead storage box that Gabi treasures.

But the strangest present came recently when Gabi’s mom, Lisa, lost her lens cap while shooting photos of birds in their neighborhood. She found it on the rim of the backyard birdbath. When she checked their “bird cam” to see if it was, indeed, the crows who returned it, she saw that one actually spent time washing it off in the birdbath before laying it carefully on the rim for Gabi to find. Now that’s something to crow about!

Gabi and her mom, Lisa. Photo, Lisa Mann.

Read the whole story here.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love this story! When I was growing up, my neighbor, who was an Agriculture extension agent, found a baby crow who had fallen out of the nest and the mother was dead. He brought it home and raised it in his backyard. We called him Jim Crow. Now Jim Crow loved to be petted on his head and back, but he also had a bad habit of chasing after my bare feet! He was quite tame and grew to be HUGE!! Often, he sat on the railing of my kitchen porch and called for me to come outside and pet him. Such smart birds. Sadly, Jim Crow was not adored by other neighbors and would harass their pets and squawk on their porches. One day, someone shot him and left him on my neighbor’s porch. We were so sad!! How could they do that to our friend? I am happy to know that Gabi’s crow friends were welcomed and had a safe haven in her yard.

  2. Cindi says:

    I love this story!! As part of a group of wonderful people that watch the osprey nests up in Sandpoint (and other places), there is always a crazy conversation going on about “The Corvids” (I said that in a deep ominous voice, by the way). Some people regard them as a nuisance and are always trying to shoo them away. I find them remarkable, unbelievably intelligent and they do very much like pretty, shiny trinkets. After the osprey leave for the season, they come in and tidy up the nest and bring little pieces of shiny paper and whatnot to decorate and enjoy until they too go off for the winter. What an incredible honor this family must feel to have some as their friends.

  3. Lovely story. when I was about 8 we saved a baby crow from the jaws of a dog and promptly named him Jonah as e nearly was swallowed whole. He became very tame and my mother left the kichten window open so he could come and go as he pleased. Yep you guessed it, ALL the kitchen silver stolen and once he even got in the dining room and stole real sterling silver!
    We had just built a patio,( a new concept in the early 50s ) and my mother was showing off by having her first la-di-da cocktail party there. Jonah was trained not to land on food or steal it but oh those canapes that the guests had in their hands , now that was FAIR GAME ! My mother was mortified, the guests hysterical and Jonah wasn’t sorry at all.

  4. Deborah McKissic says:

    I like this story..there was a story in the farmers almanac about crows in Japan…how smart crows really are..these crows would watch traffic lights and when they were red they would drop nuts to be cracked on the road and when the lights turned green the cars would run over them and crack them and when the lights were red again the crows would retrieve, that is smart! We have two huge crows that frequent our neighborhood…my grandson and I named them “Harry” and Marv” from the movie “Home Alone” …the bad guys names, ha these two crows are always up to something and make so much noise that we always know when they are in our yard….hmm…my grandson collects coins..maybe we should feed them more and they will bring us treasures? hmm….

  5. Theresa Taylor says:

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!

  6. Marianne Regan says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. It added a smile to my day.

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