Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Something Fishy?

Watching Springwatch on the BBC last night, I was enthralled by the item about the Herring Gull. Almost always overlooked or ignored, they are even more often reviled as a nuisance as they pinch your fish and chips at the seaside. But, look at them a little closer and you begin to see why we should take them a little more seriously.

Silver-grey backs, ice-white underparts, pink legs and feet, bright yellow bills with a big red spot and a yellow eye with a red ring around it. If you didn't know which bird I was describing, you might assume it was a description of an exotic, tropical bird. Not a noisy seaside thief.

A large bird, full grown males have a wingspan of up to 5ft. This, coupled with it's 'boisterous' nature can be a little intimidating. The red spot on the bill is pecked at by hatchlings in the nest to encourage the adult regurgitate a meal. The meal may consist of almost anything from fish to other birds' eggs, even general rubbish from landfill sites! Such horrible habits for such a fantastically beautiful birds. Makes you wonder how they stay so clean looking.

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