Thursday, 13 October 2016

Seagulls - who are you calling stupid?

I have lived by the sea for almost the whole of my life.  I would like to say that I am immune to seagulls but I would be lying. They are so annoying.  They wake me up - shouting and bickering most mornings. I hate them when they sit on my chimney pot and screech.

Sea gulls come out of nowhere every time I put a few crumbs out for my garden birds. They can't be so hungry all the time.  They are greedy opportunists. I have seen them mob a heron who drifted into the wrong fly zone.  I have witnessed them stealing chips from an elderly man who was minding his own lunch on the prom.  I think I most hate them when stupid people throw food in packets onto the pavement and seagulls fly down to make even more mess. Why people don't respect our town and use a dustbin is beyond my comprehension.

I think the thing that really winds me up is that these flying shit-bombers always manage to use my lovely white bedding as target practice when it is hung on the line to dry.  I resent the double-whammy of losing a great days 'drying weather' and having to start again. I would like to think that is accidental and give seagulls a break. Unfortunately for me, their behaviour is not unplanned or in any way 'stupidly bird'.  Seagulls are among the most intelligent species on the planet. They learn, remember and even pass on behaviours, such as stamping their feet in a group to imitate rainfall and encourage earthworms to surface. A seagull's intelligence is clearly demonstrated by a range of different feeding behaviours, such as dropping hard-shelled molluscs onto rocks to break the shells open so that they can eat them.   They follow ploughs in fields where they know upturned grubs and other food sources will be plentiful.

Seagulls are attentive and caring parents. The male and female pair for life and they take turns incubating the eggs, and feeding and protecting the chicks. Young gulls form nursery flocks where they will play and learn vital skills for adulthood. Nursery flocks are watched over by a few adult males and these flocks will remain together until the birds are old enough to breed. And boy - do they breed. They attack too - especially if you go near their nest or chicks.

Gulls also have a complex and highly developed repertoire for communication which includes a range of vocalisations and body movements. Many seagulls have learned to conserve energy by hovering over bridges in order to absorb raising heat from paved roadways. What else would you expect from the descendants of the velociraptor?





Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds was probably my first 'horror genre movie' experience that didn't involve someone with sharp incisors biting the neck of a beautiful woman.  Seeing a seagull attack Tippi Hebron was shocking enough but the ' bird in the sky view' of the gulls amassing in preparation for an attack the seaside town was ground-breaking. My Grandmother had a caged budgerigar called Billy and I never looked at him in the same way after that movie. Being mobbed by a flock of seagulls would have to go down as my worst nightmare.  From what I know of seagulls, it is perhaps only a matter of time until they organise...

Seaside Rendezvous
Starlings have been meeting
for an Autumnal convention,
in the seaside town of Blackpool
for over twenty years.
Congregating in their thousands
in the evenings, as the sun sets,
their exquisite murmuration
never fails to draw a crowd.

Today’s events were different:
Dangerous and sinister.
The first attack seemed innocent.
It took us by surprise.
A child was eating candyfloss
while walking on the promenade.
Her parents were astonished:
they were walking either side.  

About an hour later, a copter 
heading for a gas rig,
flew into a flock of seagulls
and crashed into Morecambe Bay.
The lifeboat sent to rescue them
was mobbed by over fifty,   
the crew, both shocked and bloodied
say gulls were organised today.

People on the Blackpool Tower,
safe and undercover,
saw birds, converging
just above the golden sand.
Suddenly they launched themselves,
wave on wave at taxi cabs,
went crashing into windows
at passengers on trams.

Worst hit were those travelling
in open, horse-drawn carriages,
screaming as the seagulls,
scratched and bit their fending arms.
Then circling the structure,
they caused chaos on the piers,
striking at the drinkers in the
The Merry England Bar. 
 
Some swooped into MacDonald’s
and chased the kids with Happy Meals,
They didn’t steal their dinners,
they just pecked out all their eyes.
The Hounds Hill was a blood bath,
awash with screaming shoppers,
until someone in a clown suit,
jumped out and took them by surprise.

He was holding a Kalashnikov,
firing bullets everywhere.
Seagulls fell like ninepins
as the crazy gunman sprayed.
The air was filled with sirens
but the rat-tat-tat continued,
all day and in the moonlight  
until no living bird remained.
 
It is the last day of October:
We enjoy a little horror here
and crazy clowns are seasonal.
They entertain the kids.
I propose a little spin on this:
yes innocents have died today
but the seagulls were defeated
and by keeping Blackpool tidy
we can all do our bit.   

Please help to keep Blackpool tidy and perhaps the seagulls will go somewhere else!
Thanks for reading.   Adele
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