Seagull- the name means “ravenous seabird” in Greek. During the summer months seagulls seem to be all over the place looking for something to eat, for example, when you go to the beach, have a picnic, or attend a ball game, they seem to all be swooping down, trying to grab your lunch. Most people think of them as a nuisance, especially since they seem hell-bent on dive bombing your food. In addition, their droppings are corrosive, a problem in some areas. Recently, a shopping plaza in Alberta, British Columbia had to temporarily close due to heavy droppings.
Seagulls, actually a misnomer because some species live inland, are scavengers that gather where food is available, in picnic areas, parking lots and garbage dumps. However, seagulls are actually being helpful when they scavage, as they gather up dead animals and other litter that could be harmful to humans. They also eat fish, rodents, clams, shellfish, french fries, bread and anything else they can get their beaks on.
Seagulls are found all over the world, except for some areas in the central Pacific and Southeast Asia. There are 43 species of seagulls worldwide. Locally, the Niagara River region has the largest and most diverse concentration of gulls in the world; 19 individual species have been found in the region. When they migrate in mid-November, some people come to the area just to watch the gulls.
* If you’re bored with the humdrum tone of many natural history books, pick up the humorous Down and Dirty Birding: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous, Here’s All the Outrageous but True Stuff You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About North American Birds by Joey Slinger.