There’s something adorable about watching non-coastie folks feed seagulls. They don’t generally connect the fact that what goes in is destined to come out, usually soon and on your colored shirt or ball cap if you are lucky.
Seagulls are called rats with wings. They will eat anything. Gulls, in early form, have been around since the early Miocene years (18 to 23 million years ago) so they have the jump on humans. Like their rodent counterparts, seagulls are resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent. Seagulls like shellfish but aren’t able to break the shells. They will carry the clams to rocks and drop them repeatedly until the shells break. They will also use bread droppings to lure goldfish to the surface of ponds so they can swoop down and eat them. Gulls are called kleptoparasites because they will steal food from other animals. They are one of the few animals that can drink both salt and fresh water. They have glands above their eyes which permits them to flush the salt through their bills.
They are non-sexist parents and mom and dad seagull will take 3-4 hour turns, covering their nest for the 26 days it takes for their eggs to hatch. It takes them 4 years to mature; their lifespan is 10-15 years.
Those are the interesting and nice facts about seagulls. On the unattractive side, they are nuisances and have been known to cause plane engine failure when they are sucked into a fusilage. They will travel miles away for food and are so plentiful in Scotland that there’s a gull extermination program there. Seagulls can be aggressive and will attack people if threatened. Their droppings are rich in bacteria such as E.coli and their bite or scratch can infect you.
I watched their beguiling ways last night with GE and the kids. Travis is determined to catch a seagull. He spends much energy running after them on his chubby 19 month old legs. GE, who was raised on the coast, knows the Ways of the Seagull. The reality. Not the soon to be made sequel to Ways of the Dragon.
She promised her littles that they could feed the seagulls the last of the bread before they head back to central Texas. Before dark, she very carefully threw high and far, moving herself and the kids away from the possible waste trajectory.
I loved watching Sophia and Travis and their obvious enjoyment of the bird feeding exercise almost as much as I loved watching GE throwing bread and her obvious enjoyment of her children.
Thank you, God, for the gifts of children and grandchildren and flying rats!