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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where Have All the Seagulls Gone?

About six weeks ago I noticed some unusual behaviour amongst seagulls while I was taking my morning walk along the West Bay Walkway. Several mornings in a row I saw four seagulls floating in a small circle, all facing one another and uttering a regular (and rather monotonous) squawking. They would sit there in the water doing this for ten or fifteen minutes at a time then wander off. Some weeks later I noticed there was a distinct drop in the local gull population. They weren't totally absent but there were fewer. Where I would see forty gulls before I now saw ten or fifteen. Around the same time I was chatting with my caricaturist friend Dean Lewis on the Inner Harbour Causeway and listening to his enthusiastic report of seagulls nesting near the webcam on Race Rocks. Suddenly it all came together: the gulls' initial weird behaviour was probably some form of mating ritual. And the later drop in the shoreline population was because many of the gulls had moved to small offshore islands to nest and rear their young in relative safety. One gull chick (photographed through the Race Rocks webcam, courtesy of Dean Lewis) is pictured to the left.


JoJo said...

Aw that little baby is adorable! And great shot of the gull too!

Dean Lewis said...

Seagulls get a bad rap for their scavenging nature and general invasion in large numbers of downtown Victoria. They really are highly successful at what they do.
Not sure why, but I was surprised to see that their eggs are gigantic, about twice the size of a chicken's.

William Kendall said...

Excellent shots, particularly that first one!

Stephanie said...

Stunning shots!