Its a good thing Gabi Mann did not know that a group of crows is called a "Murder" or she might not have pursued a friendship with this misunderstood community of birds. At the age of four, Gabi started to feed the crows in her Seattle backyard daily. Now, at 8, she has a meticulously labeled and preserved collection of gifts the crows have given as thanks to her kindness... buttons, earrings, paper clips, screws, a charm shaped like half a heart with "best" written on it: together, the objects make a kind of alphabet of friendship, a hieroglyphic pronouncement of gratitude.
The crows have even taken it upon themselves to look after the whole family. When Gabi's mom misplaced the lens cap to her camera in their neighborhood, the family's bird cam recorded a crow that flew to their bird bath, lens cap in beak, dipped it in the water, shook it about, and left it for the absent minded photographer to find.
I'm in love with these kinds of stories...these true fairy tales, these invitations to bottomless wonder, these reminders that we're no where near understanding the breadth and depth of what it means to be alive.
Reading about Gabi and the crows (here) has inspired me to work on a series of illustrations exploring some of my favorite stories of people befriending animals and animals befriending people. I have a collection in mind, but I'd love to see your suggestions. Could you send me any favorites you've read about/seen? ...Articles, books, videos...whatever you've got! You can email me here.
Here are a couple steps along the way as I put flesh on this illustration...