A mystery remains over the terms of the settlement, but the plaintiffs’ attorney said the deal included cash and an eight-year restriction on bird feeding.
The crow-feeding dispute in Seattle’s Portage Bay neighborhood has been settled, albeit with a touch of mystery.
The lawsuit filed by Matt Ashbach and Christine Yokan against neighbors Lisa and Gary Mann — who gained international attention for their relationship with crows — has been dismissed after the parties struck an agreement.
The settlement, reached last month, calls for the Manns to pay the plaintiffs a sum of money and to restrict their bird feeding for eight years, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Anna Johnsen.
Johnsen would not specify the sum, specific restrictions, or why they apply for eight years. She pointed to a 2015 court order and said most of its restrictions remain in place for the Manns’ home in the 1000 block of East Shelby Street.
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That court order said the Manns’ feeding “large quantities of food to wildlife on a regular basis” had “caused unusually high numbers of wild animals, particularly crows, pigeons and rats to congregate” near the homes of Ashbach, Yokan and the Manns.
Those animals interfered with the plaintiffs’ ability to use their properties as they had before, the court order said.
It required that the Manns provide no more than 4 ounces of food to animals per day. It also said they couldn’t leave out peanuts or other foods that are common allergens and were barred from putting food on the sidewalks or street and from yelling or using “pots, pans and other instrumentality to scare away natural predators of crows.”
Lawyers for the Manns did not immediately return calls.
Ashbach, an ear, nose and throat doctor, and Yokan, a pension-fund investment manager, contended that the feeding attracted up to 100 hovering crows at a time. Ashbach and Yokan lived on either side of the Manns. Gary Mann is a surgical oncologist.
The plaintiffs claimed they had never seen a rat on their properties until the Manns had begun feeding wildlife.
In an email, Lisa Mann said Ashbach took a dead crow and “illegally hung it in effigy off his third-floor balcony of his million-dollar mansion.” Ashbach said he found a dead crow and hung it to warn off other crows, which is not illegal, according to city officials.
Their lawsuit sought $200,000 for damages. It also included an unspecified amount for emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of property.
The Manns’ crow-feeding was grist for a BBC News story titled “The girl who gets gifts from birds.” It focused on how the Manns’ 8-year-old daughter had started sharing her lunch with crows and how that led to the birds leaving her shiny gifts such as an earring.
The story didn’t mention, though, the escalating neighborhood tensions that led to the lawsuit and settlement.