Monday, October 12, 2009

Bonding with seagulls: Not as easy as it sounds

One of the things Mom and Dad like to do on their vacations up north is feed the seagulls.
Mom, especially, has grown fond of this.
She loves it because it's cheap entertainment and it's fun to watch how the birds behave.

One of her fondest memories is the year they had a car with a sun-roof. A seagull perched right on top of the sun-roof window. Mom looked right up and got a "close-up" view of the bird's rear end as it proceeded to poop all over the glass.
She loved that.
To this day, she gets all amused and excited when she tells the story.

Since we have plenty of seagulls down here in the southern part of the state too, I decided I wanted to give it a try.
Mom gave me some pointers.

"How do I get the bird to come eat?" I asked.

"They'll hear one bird squawking about how he found something tasty, and the rest will swoop down to check it out. Then they'll all squawk, and soon you'll be surrounded."

"But how does the first bird know where to find me?", I pressed, wondering if there was a secret bird code I needed to learn.

"Just park next to the lake and wait. When a seagull flies overhead, toss some food out. He'll make a U-turn and investigate."

"Hmm," I said, confused and slightly skeptical. "Why doesn't the first bird just keep his mouth shut so he can have all the food to himself?"

"Well," Mom said, "They're not that bright."

So I embarked on my bird-feeding mission, armed with stale bread and corn tortillas, looking forward to a great ravenous avian horde.

The first day (Wednesday), there were no gulls to be found.
The next attempt (Friday), still no gulls to be found.
The next day (Saturday), still nothing. I drove around to different parts of the lakeshores, unable to find even one seagull.
Finally, on Sunday, things changed.

Eventually I was able to accumulate a flock of about 20 seagulls, all of whom ate the bits and crumbs I threw. They'd fly away and come back, and fly away and come back. Each time there were a few more birds who wanted to get in on the free meal.
After they were full, they flew off and took a swim in the lake.

None of them said "thank you", but that's ok. I'm not bitter.
It's possible they said thank you in a different way, such as by NOT pooping on my car.

Incidentally, Mom has fed all kinds of things to seagulls. Everything from stale bread to french fries to dry cat food to soy-based vegetarian "pepperoni". Of all these things, the ONLY thing the birds have ever refused to eat was the soy-based vegetarian pepperoni.

The moral of the story, then, must be that even seagulls have standards.


Mik said...

I would have a hard time eating regular pepperoni let alone the soy-based veggie kind!

Omawarisan said...

Soy pepperoni? Isn't that animal cruelty of some sort?

Janna said...

Mik: But regular pepperoni is scrumptious! :o

Omawarisan: Most likely! It also sounds cruel to expect human beings to eat it... :)

Lynda said...

If a seagull won't eat it, I won't either!

Jeff said...

When you grow up with bazillions of seagulls flying over your head all day long, you learn to not appreciate them as much. We kinda considered them nothing more than rats with wings.

We did have a jolly time though trapping them in our driveway. You know, support a box with a stick and tie a string to it. Then when the seagull goes under the box to eat the food you pull the stick away. Boy, they sure hated that... but we thought it was coolest thing you could do. Ahh... thanks for the memory. :-)

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed by the time I got to the end of the post that you didn't get a photo like your mom did. But good advice on staying away from the soy pepperoni. That almost made up for the lack of photo. Almost...

Anonymous said...

Soy pepperoni? Who said that the birds were dumb? Now whoever invented that and whoever would eat it - they might fit the description

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

"Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight." ~ Jonathan Livingston Seagull

"I know you're obsessed with flying, but when you do finally get hungry, avoid cat food and soy pepperoni at all costs. It's easy enough to get from crazy old ladies with nothing better to do than feed gulls, but it'll give you the runs, and you'll end up embarrassing yourself by shitting all over some tourist's car." ~ Jonathan's dad

Marilyn said...

Your mom must have a fun, quirky sense of humor too.

Peperoni is one of those things that ought to be real or you ought not bother with.

Janna said...

Lynda: Me either!

Jeff: What did you do with them after you caught them?

UnfinishedRambler: Staying away from soy pepperoni is always good advice. That alone was worth the lack of a thousand pictures.

Grace: Kinda gives new meaning to the term "bird-brained", huh?

MikeWJ: Heeeyyy! You just called my mom a crazy old lady...

Marilyn: Mom is indeed quirky and funny and lovable. :)

Knucklehead said...

Apparently this blog is NOT sponsored by the Soy-Based Pepperoni Foundation of America (SBPFA).

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...


Janna said...

Knucklehead: They tried calling, but I just laughed and hung up.

MikeWJ: It's ok. Someday I'll be a crazy old lady too. Then I can stalk you and spray-paint blog posts on your driveway, and wrestle all the BBQ ribs out of your hands without even saying "please", and I can blame it all on dementia! It will be tons of fun. How does the year 2017 sound?

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

I'm in! Except the for the ribs. They're mine!

Travis said...

My mom enjoys feeding birds too, but she's not all that fond of gulls.

Janna said...

MikeWJ: We can wrestle for them. If your conscience will allow you to fight a sweet little old lady for BBQ ribs, that is. (In 2017 I'll be 47. That counts as "little old lady, doesn't it...?)

Travis: I'm enjoying it. I fed them some more this afternoon. :)