18/04/2024

Family Of Crows Give Gift To Seattle Man Who Has Been Feeding Them For Years

Stuart Dahlquist never thought he would become friends with the new family who moved in next door to his Seattle home. From the start, it was clear his new neighbors — a family of crows — liked to keep to themselves.

“This particular family of crows has been hanging around our house I’d guess about four years,” Dahlquist said. “They had nested in a large Douglas fir in the front yard and we could hear the babies when the adults fed them.”

“One day I found both babies had fallen to the ground, almost able to fly but not quite. We got them into a tree and the parents – pretty angry with us actually – took it from there and the little ones sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ. We began feeding these intelligent animals soon after.”

Stuart said he can easily tell when they’re hungry. “Sometimes when I’m walking they’ll fly with me, landing on the wires and branches above as I amble along. When we get home they like to land on the fence and wait to be fed. Other times they simply “Caw! Caw!” at us… It’s pretty obvious when they want food.” He gives them high-quality dry cat food with very little filler. “Crows aren’t as keen on corn as people seem to think.”

“The adult male is very distinctive,” Stuart said. “His right leg was ɪɴᴊᴜʀᴇᴅ at some point and didn’t heal properly so he hops on only one foot. I often wish we could do something about it but there really isn’t a way. He gets around just fine otherwise.”

“When birds are very young, they will become very tame and I had a few wild birds as a kid; a robin, a magpie. Since I became an adult, crows, the smartest birds I know, have been my companions quite a lot, as well. I had one ‘The Judge’ (named after Cormac McCarthy’s character in Blood Meridian) for ten or eleven years.

Stuart Dahlquist has been a bird enthusiast, he spent years leaving out food for a family of crows—but he never expected to be given anything in return for the snacks. That’s why he was all the more sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ when he was surprised with a gift from the corvids.

One morning in March, Dahlquist stepped outside his home northeast of Seattle and noticed a short pine sprig with a soda tab threaded through the end. It was positioned right by his backdoor, exactly where he leaves an offering of dried cat food each day.

The next day he found a second sprig identical to the first in the same spot. He and his wife walked the neighborhood, but couldn’t find another explanation for the strange objects. The crows, they reasoned, must have looped the tags onto the pine stems and left them behind for their human benefactors to find.

Since the exchange of gifts, Dahlquist’s relationship with his crow neighbors has only gotten stronger.

“They’ll follow along when I take my walks, landing on the wires along the way,” Dahlquist said. “The adult male … is very amiable and will fly sometimes within a few feet, swooping by to say, ‘Here I am!’”

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