Did you know Seagulls are clever birds? Whether you love them or hate them, these beautiful birds are crafty and highly intelligent. Growing up on the coast I’ve always been intrigued with seagulls. Their aggressive and bold behavior around people seem to contradict their graceful aerial movement and soft water landings.
These fascinating birds initially only hung out by the seaside, river or some type of water resource, but now many urban areas have become home to them. Growing up on the coast hearing the high pitch call of the gulls, integrates into the normal everyday backdrop sound, but it has always seemed strange to hear seagulls in cities far from the coast when I travel. Strange as it may sound, it always warms my heart a little to think my beach friends from home… Followed me.
It turns out Seagulls have separated into two distinct different groups, rural and urban gulls and these seagulls do not mix. They usually stay in the area they are born in, although some urban seagulls do return to the coast to breed, according to Peter Rock, seagull expert. Once the babies are born, the parenting seagulls rotate turns caring for their young, standing guard and providing food for the nest.
Studies estimate over 100,000 seagulls are now nesting on urban cities rooftops where they can protect their young and easily feed from waste landfills and street trash. While the number of gulls heading to the cities is increasing, the coastal gulls are dramatically decreasing.
I love to watch the seagulls on the beach, play out their little tricks. Did you know they stomp the ground with their feet to get the earthworms to surface imitating rainfall? If you get the chance, notice they will repeat many behaviors in unison with each other while communicating to large flocks.
Here’s a few more interesting things about the seagulls:
- Seagulls posses a highly developed range of vocalislation. They also have the ability to communicate with each other through body movement.
- There is estimated to be twenty-nine different species in existence.
- They drink both kinds of water, fresh and salt.
- Seagulls target rocks to drop hard shell food in to break it open to eat.
- They have a small claw halfway up their leg that allows them to sit on ledges without being blown off by high winds.
- If you notice them hovering over bridges, they are conserving energy to prepare to absorb rising heat from hot roadways.
- Their eyesight is better than ours.
- Seagulls can survive in the wild for 10-15 years, but can live up to 30 years in captivity. The oldest recorded seagull was 49 when he died.
- Although they live in colonies that consist of thousands of pairs of birds, they are monogamous to their pair and stay with one mate for life.
- Seagulls remember things and pass it on to other gulls.
- They are covered in white plumage and have black around the wing edges.
- Their wing span is usually 11 to 30 inches and they appear uniform in shape.They have heavy bodies, moderately long limbs and necks with a rounded tail (except for 3 species).
- Eagles and other large birds are the main predator of seagulls.
- Seagulls often steal food from other birds, animals and humans.They eat earthworms, rodents, insects, reptiles, fruit, seeds, amphibians and human food. Occasionally, they eat other birds in their species, cannibalism.
- The seagull is the state bird for Utah because they helped the Mormons settle by eating the excess of crickets in the state. Referred to as “The Miracle of Gulls“.
- They are synonymous with the terms “Freedom, Versatility, and Carefree” in the Native American Culture.
Seagulls are not just beautiful, but an old species. No one knows exactly how far they date back, but most bird enthusiasts agree, that seagulls are among one of the species of birds.
A little birdie told me that it’s known in the circles of ornithologists, wildlife biologists and birders that most experts cringe at the term “Seagull” and say it’s misleading. The experts claim there is no bird species known as technically as “Seagull”, but as simply “Gulls”. The word, sea, got attached to the gull after their behavior demonstrated their devotion to the coastline.
If you enjoy the “Flight of the Seagulls” you’re part of the mass majority, however, if you find the seagulls annoying – maybe this post will help change your mind. I hope so because you’re missing out.
Why do you think the seagull is so popular among all the feathered friends? Is it the mental images of being near the ocean or just simple subliminal perception of coastal familiarity? Whatever the reason, it’s a great one and justified.