Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Feeding Frenzy of Gulls

During the past couple of outings, I have noticed an odd number of gulls congregating off shore.  As Spring nears, invertebrates are getting ready to release their eggs and with that comes birds and migration.  To migrate, a bird needs flight (duh), a place to go (nesting spot), and food along the way.  The food often presents the most troubling step for birds.  While I can go on and on, I want to talk about the struggle of food.

On a visit to Hammonasset, I witness a real dogfight between some gulls.  They were fighting over food that people had left behind.  This will of course cause problems when the other breeding shore birds start to show up.  But these gulls were really going at it over this food.  There was dynamic flying, calling, and a real sense that this food was absolutely vital to their survival.  As the fight went on, I was impressed with the determination of the gulls and how they had adapted.  All the birds made opportunity cost calculations.  The one with the food was attempting to fly away with as little effort as possible.  As the dog fight continued, fewer and few gulls remained.  They figured that their probability of getting food was low enough that staying wasn't worth their time.  Eventually, the gull who found the food was able to hold off the other gulls...


A Dark Juvenile Herring Gull

The Distant raft of gulls

Herring Gulls fighting, yelling, and flying over food

It was a real dogfight!

7 comments:

  1. Great shots of the gulls. Personally, I hate to see people leave food and trash behind..Some of this food and trash may not be suitable food for the birds or wildlife.. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

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    1. I agree! and the trash attracts lots of animals that can disrupt nesting species and shorebirds in particular!

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  2. Nice gull-photos!
    They do the same here at my place!

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    1. Definitely worth watching and observing!

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  3. I love watching the gulls. They're beautiful birds.

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