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All Hail the Herring Gull

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What she worry about bird dogs and people? There's pizza to be had here.

When they aren't eating eider chicks, piping plover or tern chicks, or snatching baby murres off ledges, herring gulls inspire quite a bit of awe and respect in me. You have to admire a bird that is able to both ignore and exploit people to its advantage; a bird that will eat everything from lobster bait and hard-shelled clams to pizza--and figure out how to get each of those in the most expedient way.

It's just a bird, right? How smart can it be? Very smart. And maybe older than you. Herring gulls can live into their 30's and 40's.This herring gull spent a bit of time sizing up a couple who had brought pizza to eat at Beavertail Park in Rhode Island--one of the places Clay Taylor took the bird bloggers when we traveled to the Swarovski facility in Cranston, RI. Webbed feet don't stop herring gulls from perching on almost anything. It's hard to do that without a functional hind toe, but they manage.
She moved in closer, eyeing the food to be had.
A close pass revealed that sky-silver that gulls and terns wear to perfection.
Hello. You seem to have reached your satiety. Spare a bit of pizza for a hungry mother gull?
Yes, yes, all that. Just give me the pizza.
For your amusement, I shall catch your bits of crust in mid-air. Gulls have binocular vision straight down--useful when we are cruising the ocean blue for prey or flotsam.
Thank you, Pizza Sources. You have performed exactly to specifications. I'll be off now.


I have been anticipating this post--having seen its title this afternoon, but then it refused to appear! Blogger? you?
Anyway, you have caught the essence of the herring gull. These birds have to be wily to co-exist with humans.
Love you channeling the gull's thoughts--I like your version better than Richard Bach's.

"Thank you Pizza Sources." LOL!... captures their attitude superbly!

Hope y'all have seen the old YouTube clip of the gull in Britain calmly walking into the convenience store repeatedly to pilfer Doritos off the shelf.

It's just amazing how herring gulls sound just like Bostons!

Sorry about the magical disappearing blog post, Donna and Christine. Sometimes, when I hit Return as I'm writing a post, the durn thing starts posting my unfinished work. Eek! Just as quickly, I hit Edit Posts and stop the process. There is a lot of cussing.
Christine, in answer to your question on the previous post, I wouldn't presume to rank HEGU intelligence in relation to that of a crow or raven. I would imagine there are ways to do that, with tests of mechanical ability and reasoning power in captive birds. My rough guess would be that gulls are right up there with crows and ravens, but I don't know that anyone has bothered to do intelligence testing on gulls.

Generally, long-lived omnivores tend toward intelligence, be they crow, gull, raccoon, baboon, parrot, pig or human. It has to do with the vast array of different foods they need to learn to procure, in part.

Chet Baker: Mether, I am a omnivore. I just had chicken livers and then Greek yogurt with peaches in it for dessert. I could have a whole nother round of both of those things.

Thank you, LOG, for making me laugh-- again.

And Cyberthrush, I've seen that cool little gull striding right into the store for his crisps. Worth a watch! And I've had Heermann's gulls steal stuff out of my backpack in Monterey, too.

I've been laughing like crazy through this, Julie. You are so in tune with dogs, gulls, and all life. You speak for gulls, too!!!!! And I am absolutely stunned to learn their life span is 30-40 years. Incredible. But we do feel them well.

They do capitalize on our need to think we are "helping" nature, don't they? :c)

There's one shot whre it liiks like a bittern gull. The bill straight up and two beady eyes showing.

I think the best adjective for gulls in general is brazen.

word verification--- cowsq

i live in the land of herring gulls and their very nasty habits (they kill and eat each other's babies, too...sometimes drown them, even in front of bird tours with no compunction at all!) but you captured this one very well. here they don't bother to pretend to have manners--they grab sandwiches right out of kids' hands! nice post.

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