George and Mabel – A Love Story

They say that crows usually mate for life.  George and Mabel have certainly stuck together through good, and some very bad, times — so, in honour of Valentine’s Day, here is their story.

I wrote about some of their trials and tribulations about a year ago in the blog post George’s Tough Year. This is the next instalment of their story.

In spite of babies lost to illness  and a seemingly catastrophic injury, George has kept on keeping on and, with the help of his mate, Mabel, seems to be thriving.

We never did figure out what exactly caused George’s beak to break. Theories have included: crash landing; attack from other birds; and a run in with a rat trap. I don’t think George is going to tell me any time soon. In any case, I hardly think he notices his half-beak any more.

He’s developed his own method of scooping up food, turning his head upside down for a more efficient “shovelling” action.

George the Crow eating peanuts

You would think that other crows would take advantage of George’s disability, but he and Mabel, as a team, are a force to be reckoned with. While George comes down to pick up their breakfast, Mabel stands guard on a higher roof and warns of incoming interlopers.

Fluffy Mabel the Crow

Mabel on Guard

George’s great advantage over other crows is that he’s not afraid of me at all. If I’m present, the other crows are too afraid to come and eat, while George regards me as his personal catering manager. If I forget one of his “snacks” he will perch right by my studio and stare meaningfully at me through the window until I get the message.

George on the Bird Feeder

In 2015 they had a baby but s/he was terribly afflicted by avian pox and died as soon as the cold weather came. Last summer I watched carefully to see what would happen. They had two babies. One didn’t make it, but the second is hanging in there. Boy/Girl George, as I like to call him/her has a small foot deformity, but has survived a bitterly cold winter, so fingers crossed.

George and Mabel's Baby Crow

Boy/Girl George

George and Mabel are working incessantly to make sure their offspring thrives. After George has collected the food I put out (and he can cram an amazing amount into his gullet and beak) he flies off to share the bounty with Mabel and the baby. I think George is trying to show Junior the food collecting ropes, but s/he remains skittish about coming too close for now.

Baby Crow and Parent

Mom and Baby

Crow family in silhouette

So this Valentine’s Day, we can celebrate the many kinds of love. From the giddy excitement of first infatuation, to the less dramatic but lifelong kind that George and Mabel enjoy.

George and Mabel Crows in the Snow


Crow Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

2020 Update

Some of these pictures may look familiar. This may be because you read my blog post when it came out in 2017, or it could be because some of these photographs were taken without permission and used in a fabricated crow love story that went wildly viral across the internet. The story here is the true story of George and Mabel, and these (as with all of the images in my blog posts) are my photographs.

Sadly, George passed away the summer after I wrote this story. He is buried in my garden. See: In Memory of George

George and Mabel’s offspring did survive and Mabel is still thriving. She eventually found a new mate and in the spring of 2019 they had three babies, two of which survived and are still hanging around with mom and dad. See More on Mabel

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© junehunterimages, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to junehunterimages with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

logo with crow

35 thoughts on “George and Mabel – A Love Story

  1. Thanks. I have lots that follow me when I have food and they know my dogs but would love to have the relationship you do.

  2. Crows do mate forever. They are so family orientated that they put us to shame. I love this story and am so happy George is adapting along with his love of his life.

    We should all learn a lesson from this in so many ways. Handicapped people, outcast people, and someone we think is strange.. they all have a story, love and live their life to the fullest.

    Ok – I have rambled on but then I love my crow just like you do.

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  4. June – I hope you don’t mind that I added a llink to this post on my blog today. It was around Crow Love and how we all need a hug. George & Mabel are rock stars of love. 🙂

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  7. Hi! I thought you might like to know that someone stole your pictures and made up a story about them which has gone viral on Facebook. They even misidentified George and Mabel as ravens, in addition to misgendering them. The story has gotten 27K shares at this point.

    • Thanks so much. I just got a FB message about it too and have looked it up. Wow, it’s been shared 27K times.Sigh. It seems that it’s done the rounds of all the Crow and Bird lover FB groups, so it’s hard to say who first “stole” the story. I guess it’s nice that George and Mabel are so famous, but too bad the story is wrong. In one post they identify them as ravens. Another sigh … Thanks so much for letting me know about this.

      • The Shares I’ve seen have all come from Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. And it looks like they corrected it and gave you attribution! That’s great. I love your blog and hope this attracts more readers and customers.

      • Thanks. I followed up the the Wolf Hollow people and they were very nice and changed the post. I’ve tracked it to all kinds of other FB groups now – Crows and Crow Followers, Crow Lovers, Birbs Misidentification group (ironically!) but it did seem to gather a lot of steam at Wolf Hollow – but somebody sent them the link originally. They’re helping me follow the trail. Thanks again for pointing it out, and so glad you like the blog. I do love writing it and sharing the latest exciting crow news! 🙂

  8. We received City Crows 2019 calendar in the mail today and it is indeed a work of art and love. We live in the Cariboo and crows are everywhere, after seeing your photos and the stories of Mavis and George we shall regard these feathered friends with awe and admiration forever more!

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  13. Hi June, I really enjoyed reading your blog today, even with the tears in my eyes. Oh George. R.I.P.
    I’m so happy for Mabel that she has found love for the second time in her life. <3

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  15. Ugh, making the rounds on FB again. Misgendered. Correcting it whenever I see it and making sure to link back here in comments. Hope you get some traffic out of it. Great story.

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