Gift-Giving Crows Led To A $200,000 Lawsuit

If you're a fan of birds, then you know that crows, while often associated with harbingers of death or dread, are quite intelligent. According to Discover, one of their unique abilities is possessing a level of consciousness that allows them to store information and memories. They also seem to be able to recognize and remember human faces, which means they can remember a person who leaves them food.

One such extraordinary case is that of Gabi Mann, a young girl in Seattle who bonded with not just one crow but many that visited her backyard. This bonding began innocently enough when Mann was 4 years old in 2011, when she would accidentally drop food crumbs on the ground. The crows ate the crumbs and remembered Gabi, and she enjoyed watching them eat. Over time, she began to share parts of her lunch while waiting at the bus stop in the morning, and that encouraged the crows to wait for her in the afternoon when she would do the same (via BBC).

The feeding became routine

A couple of years later, the Manns began feeding the crows on a daily basis. They filled bird feeders with peanuts, and Gabi (above) would also toss dog food into their yard to attract the birds she enjoyed watching. As expected, the number of crows visiting the Manns' home increased, and before long, the birds began to show appreciation for the food in the strangest of ways.

After eating all of the food in the feeders, the crows would leave occasional "gifts" behind on the empty food tray. The oddities included screws, buttons, beads, pieces of earrings, small scraps of metal, rusty wires, and small pieces of plastic (via BBC). Gabi cherishes the gifts, and even has them individually wrapped and categorized. She told the BBC that her favorite heart-shaped trinket showed her how much they loved her. Gabi's mom, Lisa, said she was happy to see her daughter sharing and taking an interest in the birds.

Hundreds of crows would visit the Mann's yard

While the family might have been entertained by the gift-giving crows, others were not. The Manns' feedings drew hundreds of crows as well as pigeons, and some neighbors were annoyed at the sight and sound of them. At one point, 51 of the Manns' neighbors signed and presented a petition to the city of Seattle in hopes of stopping the bird feeding, but nothing was done (via Daily Mail). One couple even sued the Manns for $200,000, claiming that bird droppings damaged their home and the food the Manns left for the birds was attracting rats. Lawyer for the plaintiff, Anna Johnson, said nobody wants to feel like they are living in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, per SeattlePI.

In 2016, an undisclosed monetary settlement was reached out of court. In addition, the Manns were ordered to limit the amount of food they left for the birds to ¼ pound each day, as well as restrict feeding the crows for eight years, according to SeattlePI.