Most little girls will exchange gifts with their closest friends， but one eight-year-old has been receiving trinkets from a more unusual source—the birds in her garden.
Gabi Mann， from Seattle， Washington， feeds the crows that visit her home with peanuts and they bring her gifts in exchange.
The youngster has built up a collection of more than 70 shiny beads， buttons， pieces of metal， brightly coloured plastic and foam—all left for her by her friends.
Perhaps the most touching is a metal piece with the word “best” written on it—one half of a pendant that would be completed by the word “friend” if reunited with the other part.
Among her most prized presents from the neighbourhood crows is a pearl-coloured heart.
“It’s showing me how much they love me，” Gabi told the BBC. “They give me all the special stuff you could ever find. We know these are from the crows that sometimes they are rusted and dirty and nothing like what a person would carry around. Sometimes we find them on the bird feeder.”
Her strange relationship with the birds began in 2011 when as a four-year-old she would accidentally drop food. Groups of crows began hanging around the family house， hoping to pick up the scraps Gabi left behind.
When she started going to school， Gabi began feeding them her lunch. The birds then started lining up to wait for the youngster to get off her bus at the end of the school day.
Two years later， Gabi and her mother Lisa began leaving food outside in their garden on a daily basis—filling the bird bath with water and leaving peanuts on feeders.
As Gabi throws the food for the birds， crowds of crows gather on telephone lines and the nearby fence.
In return， the crows now leave trinkets on the empty bird feeder—including a broken light bulb， earrings， rocks， pieces of Lego， rusted screws， and glass beads.
Gabi keeps all of the bits in carefully labelled pots and ranks them according to her favourite.
“I think they know my favourite colour—blue. They know that I like Lego and shiny things. They are my type，” she said.
Crows are known to be highly intelligent creatures—capable of solving complex puzzles and problems to get food.
Experts say they can often form strong bonds with people that feed them， but equally can mark out those that they consider a threat.
In perhaps the most astonishing story， however， Gabi’s mother Lisa describes how the crows in their neighbourhood appear to keep watch over the family.
She said that on one occasion， she had been out taking photographs of an eagle when she dropped her lens cap on the floor and forgot to pick it up before walking home.
“About an hour later I went back outside to see if I could find it， and a crow had put it on the side of one of the bird baths，” she said.
“I looked at the surveillance video to find out if it was a crow and you can see it bring it into the yard， walk it to the bird bath and spends time rinsing the lens cap and puts it on the side of the bird bath. It was pretty impressive. I’m sure it was intentional. They watch us all the time.”
Gabi herself believes her relationship with the crows has given her a special bond with the natural world and calls herself Nature Girl.
She is highly protective of the gifts from the birds， not allowing anyone to touch the trinkets.
Professor John Marzluff， an expert on avian social ecology at the University of Washington， said he believes the crows may be offering up the gifts as they would to a potential mate.
“I have seen an awful lot of things crows bring people. They do bring gifts. Whether it is always going to happen， I don’t think so，” he said. “Certain individual crows， the bond they form with that person might be more of a courtship bond where they are bringing presents like they would for their mates. For some people they are dead baby birds and other people they get shiny pendants or beautiful glass.”
For anyone hoping to form a bond with some crows， he has some advice.
“The best thing you can do if you want to form a bond with a crow is to be consistent in rewarding them for whatever the action is with a few peanuts，” he said.
“They like that food as it is a high fat high energy food and it makes noise when you throw it on the ground. They quickly habituate to your routine. They will follow you.”
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The Californian's tale