Fear bolted through his body, and he slowly turned around. Peering above his head, eight eyes met his. Suddenly, he realized he made a big mistake.
His heart pounded in his chest like a war drum playing double-time. Humans were attacked for far less than what he held in his hands right now. He took a deep breath and stood up.
It started out like any other Saturday for Stuart Dahlquist. As a working, family man from Detroit, he looked forward to the weekends just as much as the next person.
But there was a very unique reason why he looked forward to his – crows. Every Saturday morning, Stuart would potter around his yard, and tend to his wild crows.
Stuart had been feeding a family of crows for four years now. He had long since thought he earned their trust, but they were about to act very strangely.
Crows are considered one of the smartest creatures on the planet. Their intelligence is comparable to a 3-year-old human and they are said to have a good memory, capable of recognizing individual faces for a long period of time. But Stuart’s crows were different.
Like clockwork, one warm Sunday morning Stuart was greeted by his four crows as he opened his backyard door.
A smile crept over his face as he saw they were all sitting on the garage roof, in anticipation of their food. They cawed as Stuart stepped outside, but Stuart had no idea what was coming.
Stuart carefully stepped out armed with his container of food for the crows. He knew they were going to love it.
He was just about to pour its contents into the bird-feeder bowl when he noticed something reflecting the dazzling bright light of the morning sun. It was something that left him lost for words.
He threw his hand up to protect his eyes and looked closer at the object. “What on earth is that doing here?”, he mumbled to himself. Hundreds of questions ran through his mind.
He looked around his backyard to see if anyone was around or was messing with him. But no one was there. No one but him and his crows.
Stuart felt a lump in his throat as he tried to swallow his confusion. He had never felt this way before. Especially because of a few crows. But Stuart knew these crows were different.
He glanced over at them, still perched on the garage, and then back at the shiny object sitting right in front of him. Did they do this? Was this a gift? What was going on?
It was too unbelievable. How could they make this? If it was his crows doing, he needed evidence. He moved the object aside and continued to pour the bird food into the bowl.
Looking at the object once more, he took a mental photograph. He decided to look around his big tree-filled yard in search of their nest. If the crows did do this, there’d be evidence in or around their nest. But Stuart was about to step into a dramatic situation.
It took Stuart almost an hour to find what was he was looking for. But finally, he stumbled across the crow’s nest. It was tested perfectly in a tall branch of one of his silver Maple trees.
But as he got a little closer to the nest, it suddenly dawned on Stuart that something was very wrong.
Stuart could feel panic brew inside his body like tea in a pot. Sweat trickled down his flustered forehead and with each breath he took, his heart skipped.
This was not what he expected to find. But he knew he had to be quick. His feet sprang into action, propelling him forward as he imagined the worst.
On the grass, directly below the nest above, lay two tiny chicks. Stuart’s heart broke when he assumed that they must have fallen out of their nest trying to fly.
He carefully knelt down beside them to check if they were still alive. But Stuart knew he had to be quick. Time was running out.
Luckily, the tiny chicks were alive but they were in no fit shape to fly as they were far too young. He gently stroked one before realizing he had to take action.
He let out a sigh and carefully picked them both up, and was just about to stand when he sensed something watching him. And a terrible feeling hit the pit of his stomach.
Quickly, he turned around. Above his head, on branches of an opposing tree, perched four intimidating crows. Suddenly, he realized he made a big mistake.
He remembered the many reports of crows attacking humans for far less than handling their young. Stuart knew those big sharp beaks were enough to get you to a hospital room.
The crows looked agitated. They cawed, paced side to side on the branches until one suddenly swooped down to a closer branch. The rest immediately followed.
Stuart had no idea what to do. He stood, frozen in his tracks and his heart raced like an Olympian going for gold. What was their problem?
Stuart was aware that the crows perceived him as a threat right now, after all, he was holding their young and they were incredibly loyal and protective birds.
But Stuart was frozen, caught between wanting to help the baby birds, and wanting to protect himself from a bird attack. What will he do? Time was running out for Stuart.
He made the hasty decision to pop the baby birds on a lower branch of the tree and get out of there fast.
But as he was looking for the branch, he saw it; pine and silver pull tabs. He looked at the family of crows in amazement. They no longer seemed intimidating, he left the baby birds in the branch and continued staring. What did they give him?
The crows must have given Stuart a gift. A gift that can only be described as a piece of art. It was a pine twig with a silver pull tab threaded through the end.
He was sure that the gift was an expression of thanks for the years of feeding them, which is not too hard to believe as many animals are known to leave gifts for their human friends.
Stuart was so taken aback that he decided to post about this incredibly thoughtful gift. He posted an image of the gift, stating “This isn’t only generous, it’s creative, it’s art. My mind is blown”.
His post took off, with many people posting dumbfounded looks about Stuart’s intelligent and gracious crows. However, there was one question burning in the back of everyone’s mind.
What did Stuart feed them? Stuart was quick to the mark to explain, “They really like high-quality cat food, something with a lot of protein and very little filler, lots of meat, no corn. Oddly, crows aren’t fond of corn”.
It’s not surprising that Stuart knew so much about crows – turns out, he regularly rescues them.
He grew up saving all kinds of birds, he even trained them, with one of his crows now appearing in movies!
Looks like Stuart always had the trust of his crows, wild or not. It makes us wonder what else these mysterious birds are hiding up their sleeves or what creative gift they’ll offer next – seems like they already have art and acting down!