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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The gulls

I always found gulls to be a total nuisance. I would even go so far as to say I despise them. And, I don't really know why. Maybe it's because I only encounter them in parking lots scavenging for food. But, someone appreciates the gulls. From him, we learn this somewhat noteworthy fact in today's Illinois Times:

There are 51 identified species of gulls in the world — 28 in North America — and Springfield has played host to at least 18 of them. (Winging it, by H. David Bohlen)

Of one particular gull at Lake Springfield:

[...] These eagles had cut the glaucous gull from the flock, and I watched through my 60-power scope what I thought would be a fight to the death out on the ice. One eagle stood in the gull’s way, making sure that the gull did not walk away; the other eagle was the aggressor. It flew over and grabbed the gull and threw it a few feet. The gull slid on the ice but took the abuse stolidly. Then the eagle flew and hovered just above the gull several times — but the gull pointed its fairly large bill up at it, and the eagle backed off. Predators cannot afford to have their wings or feet injured, because they use them in hunting and cannot survive without them. The aggressor eagle walked and slid over to the gull, flew up and grabbed the gull’s head with its talons, and flapped higher with the gull dangling by its head. I thought that this would be the end, but the gull started biting the eagle’s feet and the eagle let go, dropping the gull back to the ice.

And just like that, the gull becomes the hero. We don't get this kind of action in town. I don't know if the parking lot gulls are any relation to the Lake Springfield gulls, but I now have a newfound appreciation for gulls.

Posted by Marie at March 13, 2008 11:20 PM


Even as a birder, I find it difficult to get excited by gulls. They're nondescript, have multiple plumages that you have to learn so you can age them, and generally are irritating. Interesting story though.

I'm also pleased you used the correct name for the birds - gulls. Most folks just use the folk name "seagull", which, like "buzzard", isn't the name of any NA bird.

Posted by: Kem White Author Profile Page at March 14, 2008 11:54 AM