I’ve always liked seagulls, partly because I associate them with the beach, but mostly because they’re very entertaining. They have a bad reputation as aggressive scavengers, and I know they can be pests, but hey, they have to do what they can to survive, the same as any other species. They have lived alongside humans for thousands of years and they’re really quite fascinating birds.
We live close to the coast, and I will always return from trips to the beach with a few snapshots of the gull fellas. The one at the top of this post was taken on a recent trip to Broadstairs beach – I wonder what he is thinking so deeply about? Look at him again, look closely at his expression and his stance, and tell me this isn’t a seagull with a lot on his mind?
Here’s are five things you might not know about seagulls:
1) They are highly intelligent creatures, and learn behaviours to adapt to their environment. In groups they will stamp their feet on the ground to sound like rainfall which tricks earthworms into coming to the surface. They will also drop molluscs down on to rocks to crack them open and eat their contents.
2) Seagulls mate for life, and have a modern approach to parenting. Not only do they take it in turns to incubate the eggs, but they also take it in turns to feed and protect the chicks after they are born, while the other one goes off to hunt and scavenge.
3) They are one of very few animals that can drink both fresh and salt water. How handy is that?
4) Seagulls are much adored in Utah where they are the state bird since they successfully helped Mormon settlers deal with a plague of crickets.
5) In the wild, they typically live for around 10 years, but can live several times as long in captivity. I’m pretty certain they would choose a shorter life in the wild than a much longer one in captivity.
I think we can learn a lot from observing these beautiful, intelligent, and resourceful creatures.
What do you think? Seagulls – pest or pal?