patabate

Seagull behavior I’ve never seen before.

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I was on a local river yesterday when I noticed gull diving a few hundred yards north of me. Gulls diving in February, that deserves a closer look. As I got closer I saw some splashing where the gulls were diving, that got me more interested since I know striped bass are in the area. When I got within a hundred yards or so I could see that there were ducks sitting under the ducks. They were small diving ducks, think they were mergansers. First I thought they might be trying to attack the smaller birds. As I got closer it seemed as the ducks came to the surface from a dive the gulls would rush it. Some gulls would sit on the water where duck just dived and attack it when it surfaced. It soon became apparent that the gulls were trying to steal whatever the ducks brought up in the bills. 
Anyone have any insight on this. Amazing to observe. 

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12 mins ago, patabate said:

I was on a local river yesterday when I noticed gull diving a few hundred yards north of me. Gulls diving in February, that deserves a closer look. As I got closer I saw some splashing where the gulls were diving, that got me more interested since I know striped bass are in the area. When I got within a hundred yards or so I could see that there were ducks sitting under the ducks. They were small diving ducks, think they were mergansers. First I thought they might be trying to attack the smaller birds. As I got closer it seemed as the ducks came to the surface from a dive the gulls would rush it. Some gulls would sit on the water where duck just dived and attack it when it surfaced. It soon became apparent that the gulls were trying to steal whatever the ducks brought up in the bills. 
Anyone have any insight on this. Amazing to observe. 

Amazing. It's a learned response. Same as one gull chases down another for whatever food it has.

 

Edited by Lateral Line
.

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They're opportunists. They will steal food from people's hands. They will fight among themselves, stealing from each other. You have witnessed normal seagull behavior.

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47 mins ago, joetackle said:

They're opportunists. They will steal food from people's hands. They will fight among themselves, stealing from each other. You have witnessed normal seagull behavior.

I agree but what amazed me was they knew to sit on the spot when a duck dived and wait for it to surface. 

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We see them often in the ocean when we are short on bait. They will sit or hover over the cormorants and try to steal their catches when they surface.

The strangest seagull behavior that I have witnessed was last fall during the mullet run. When I net mullet I sometimes will get some peanuts or snappers also. I usually return this by catch to the water but sometimes I will feed the local gulls. It was very strange to see the gulls fighting over the peanuts but totally ignored the snappers. All were the same size that gulls are capable of swallowing hole, but the wouldn’t eat the snappers. Sometimes they actually would pick up a snapper and drop it.

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We’ve got an eagle that sits in a tree outside my office and looks over New Haven Harbor. He mugs gulls and ospreys when they catch a fish, in true New Haven style.

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31 mins ago, baldwin said:

We’ve got an eagle that sits in a tree outside my office and looks over New Haven Harbor. He mugs gulls and ospreys when they catch a fish, in true New Haven style.

Fun to watch when the eagles get real hungry and just bomb the gulls....

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Have watched gulls come up under ospreys fly upside down under them and knock the bunker out of the ospreys talons and catch it before the bunker hits the ground.

Some high speed aerobics. 

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Watched a couple gulls wrecking a baby duck flying around and dropping it on the beach come back grab it and repeat till one monster gull swooped in and swallowed it down whole and still alive.

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The strangest gull behaviour that I have seen was a few years ago taking the ferry out of Woods Hole to MV.  It was a warm day and my wife & I were on the upper deck.  As the ferry got going and picked up speed, two gulls flew over and stationed themselves right in front of the wheel house.  They rode the air cushion pushed by the wheel house and glided without flapping their wings other than making small corrections.  When the kids on the packed ferry threw crackers in the water the birds swooped down and picked them up.  Then they flew back to glide in front of the wheel house until another snack appeared.  They rode the ferry all the way to MV, and when one of the other boats was leaving Vineyard Haven for Woods Hole, they left us and flew over to the other boat.  They then positioned themselves to ride the air cushion.  These birds figured out that they could hitch a low energy consuming ride over to MV & back and feed off of the tourists.  Pretty amazing.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

8 hours ago, patabate said:

I was on a local river yesterday when I noticed gull diving a few hundred yards north of me. Gulls diving in February, that deserves a closer look. As I got closer I saw some splashing where the gulls were diving, that got me more interested since I know striped bass are in the area. When I got within a hundred yards or so I could see that there were ducks sitting under the ducks. They were small diving ducks, think they were mergansers. First I thought they might be trying to attack the smaller birds. As I got closer it seemed as the ducks came to the surface from a dive the gulls would rush it. Some gulls would sit on the water where duck just dived and attack it when it surfaced. It soon became apparent that the gulls were trying to steal whatever the ducks brought up in the bills. 
Anyone have any insight on this. Amazing to observe. 

they learn fast that's for sure.

a friend of mine sent his daughter to the store to get some stuff.

one of them was a loaf of Italian bread,as she walked across the BB field one swooped down and snatched the entire loaf and left the bag in the bag.

ever watch them at the golden arches,,you would not believe what they know how to do,the learn from watching other birds then they try it themselves.

I have had them land on my cars hood and watch me eat waiting for a freebie.

they will actually surround your vehicle and wait.

throw a fry out the window and they will go apeshit over it.

I and a buddy stopped at the golden arches after ice fishing once.

as we ate like pigs we saw 7 starlings come out of a trash can.

each one had some food and one had an entire bag with something in it.

when it got on the ground another came over and man did they fight.

turned out there was some fries and a bun in the bag,,,,made us wonder how it knew it was inside?,,,maybe 'cause it was heavy or something.

HH

 

Edited by Heavy Hooksetter

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Poor girl at the Jones boat basin dock had a gull drop a clam on her head. She said it hurt like hell.

Sitting in the lot at we2 had a dumb gull drop a poop load from the hood over the roof and down the trunk. What a mess. I hear they aim for shiny black cars.

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I occasionally see the behavior patabate described, with gulls stealing food from the divers. This time of year there are always diving ducks around (mostly buffleheads at the moment) and gulls are present year round, so I wonder why it doesn’t happen more. I’ve also seen eagles go after the divers, but their success rate seems pretty low...all the duck has to do to escape is swim under a dock. The most bizarre bird activity I’ve encountered is a young great blue heron that landed on the bow of my kayak as I was unhooking a schoolie I’d caught. I had to fend him off with my pole, then he wouldn’t leave my plug alone until I finally stowed my rod and paddled off 100 yds or so. Guess he was pretty hungry.

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