Living so close to the coast means that I see, and hear, squawking seagulls on the hunt for their next meal. The birds are so annoying, and yet up close are magnificent. Gulls are resourceful, inquisitive, and intelligent creatures.
Gulls are highly adaptable feeders that opportunistically take a wide range of prey. The food taken by gulls includes fish and marine and freshwater invertebrates, both alive and already dead, terrestrial arthropods and invertebrates such as insects and earthworms, rodents, eggs, carrion, offal, reptiles, amphibians, plant items such as seeds and fruit, human refuse, chips, and even other birds.
No gull species is a single-prey specialist, and no gull species forages using only a single method. The type of food depends on circumstances, and terrestrial prey such as seeds, fruit, and earthworms are more common during the breeding season while marine prey is more common in the non-breeding season when birds spend more time on large bodies of water.
While on land, Gulls become flying rats. A vermin that plague our shores. They wouldn’t think twice about swooping down and grabbing food from your hand. In one such incident in Weston-Super-Mare, in revenge, a man grabbed the seagull by the throat and smashed it against a wall. He must’ve really liked his chips 😡
For sure, they are annoying at times. But cruelty is not an excuse for attacking a creature that is simply following it’s instincts. Gulls are known for Kleptoparasitism – a form of feeding in which one animal takes prey or other food from another that has caught, collected, or otherwise prepared the food. Hence why they steal food from humans, for example takeaway food at seaside resorts.
We should embrace the Gull and learn from them. When we understand them, then maybe we can live in harmony and enjoy their beauty instead of killing them for the sake of a snatched takeaway.
- Seagulls are clever – they learn and pass on behaviours.
- Seagulls can drink both fresh and salt water.
- Seagulls are generally monogamous and most mate for life.
- Seagulls live 10-15 years, but have been known to reach mid the 20’s.
- Seagulls sometimes resort to cannibalism.