Don’t Call Me A Seagull

Did you know that there is no such bird as a “seagull”? There are lots of different species of gulls and lots of them hang out by the sea, but there are no “seagulls.” There are laughing gulls, blackback gulls, ring-billed gulls, and the very common herring gulls. So now when the guy you’re trying to impress at the bar is talking about the “seagulls” he saw, you can correct him with this fun tidbit of knowledge. He’ll be absolutely wowed and fall madly in love with you. It’s foolproof.

Herring gulls are the most common type of gull in this area with white bellies and grey backs. If you look closely at a picture of a herring gull’s head, you may notice a red dot on its otherwise yellow beak. It’s not there to attract a mate or help them hunt, it’s an adaptation to help the chicks feed. Gull chicks were studied pecking at the red dot on their parent’s beak so that they would feed them, much like tapping the Order button on UberEats. But instead of getting buffalo wings, they get marine fish and invertebrates. Yum!

Gull parents are very protective of their young, so if you find yourself close to their nesting grounds, be on the lookout because the parents will fight back to keep their chicks safe. They may swoop overhead and release their bowels, leaving you a stinky, sticky mess or they may engage in a practice called “dive-bombing” where they dive straight at your head and try to hit you with their feet. Sometimes, they veer away at the last second, but if you see a gull coming toward you really quickly, you might want to… well, duck.