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Thread: The Flight of the Gulls.

  1. #1 The Flight of the Gulls. 
    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    I have just returned from a few days at the seaside. Balcony view of the Southern Ocean. Off the southern coastline of Victoria, Australia. Port Fairy, to give exact location. My balcony view, perhaps 35 metres from the high tide line, allowed for a close observation of the shoreline. At Dusk, that magical time between sunset and night darkness, the Gulls arrived. Seagulls? The white body grey winged variety, yellow beak, 5 inch legs--common seagulls? They must have been, and yet, they seemed enormous, loomed large in their wheeling and plunging, zooming upwards almost vertically, only to stall at the top and thenwheel away along the waterline horizontally. And mostly in rough formation with other Gulls, but this the exception rather than the rule.

    Their flight pattern and display as darkness came on was frenetic. No sound. Bird count? Lets say 60/70 Gulls. Every night at the same time. not before. not after. The same erratic yet repetitive movements. Individually playing as a different instrument in a combined orchestra. Was this showing off? certainly not to Humans. To themselves as a kind of Power Play? ( see how swift and strong I am ). Were they all male Gulls.? I don't know. But My money is/was on them being male Gulls.

    Now, this was the first time I have witnessed this phenomenon. My curiosity leads me to ask other members of the Forum for any similar observations in other places on shorelines at Dusk. I'll leave it at that for the moment. westwind.


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Dinosaurs do the darnest things!


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Sounds like pre-roosting behaviour. Gulls do not normally fly after dark, and have to find a place to settle for the night. Since suitable places are not that common, each one tends to attract a lot of gulls. A good time and place to display to each other.
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    I live in New Orleans, around 8-20 miles from the habitat I assume these birds naturally live in.


    I see seagulls in grocery store parking lots all the time, it seems they are eating food dropped on the ground. Every one has always told me, these parking lot birds got lost in storms.


    I saw a few seagulls today while driving around.



    But to answer your question,


    I have (not) noticed this phenomenon. And I cant really remember seeing 60/70 gulls in one group, unless there was a (huge) food source near.


    I ask this, why would 60/70 gulls be in a group, if there is not a (huge) food source around ?


    Even when fishing in boats, it seems I usaully see seagulls in small groups, unless they are in a large group, that is over a school of fish, and all the gulls are diving for them.


    perhaps skeptic is on a good explanation, I think I have noticed larger groups of gulls sitting on a shore line, but I dont seem to remember them acting the way you saw.
    Last edited by chad; March 18th, 2012 at 10:26 PM.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    I live in New Orleans, around 8-20 miles from the habitat I assume these birds naturally live in.

    I see seagulls in grocery store parking lots all the time, it seems they are eating food dropped on the ground. Every one has always told me, these parking lot birds got lost in storms.
    Seagulls have adapted to human presence, taking advantage of some of our 'technology'. True they follow boats for waste that may be thrown overboard, which keeps them at sea. But they also turn up inland during ploughing to eat worms and beetles. They concentrate on land fill sites and rubbish tips. They live in urban settings where food gets casually discarded. Unfortunately, at least in the UK, their breeding grounds are being destroyed by urban expansion. They move into cities because flat roofs on things like shopping centres mimic their cliff side nesting sites.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I have seen Gulls in my town as well, 375 miles from the nearest coast.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    To all Posters on this thread. Please accept my humblest apologies. In this instance, on this thread, Meteor Wayne's prediction that I would stuff up if I didn't knuckle down and do a little research on the Subject matter, has come true. I'll not make any excuses. What I was looking and observing failed to trigger my short term memory. I should have known immediately what was happening with the Bird Flight. Griffith Island Shearwaters. Getting ready to make their annual migratory flight to the Aleutian Islands in the Northern Hemisphere. They were conditioning themselves in preparation for this extrordingarily event. At this time of the year, March (Southern Hemisphere ) we are leaving our Summer behind and moving into Autumn. The Shearwaters, ( local name at Port Fairy, Mutton Birds ) have successfully raised their young, and are preparinf to leave them on Griffith Island to follow the Adult breeding birds North in two/3 months time,( When they have become very hungry indeed ). Griffith Island is joined to the Mainland by a Causeway, a matter of 100 metres. It is, of course, a Sanctury. Shearwaters are protected here in Victoria. They are called mutton birds locally because the early Whalers and then the first Settlers found their meat reminded them of mutton. The Birds will be leaving, the Adult birds. by the middle of April, making their way North by way of Japan then the upper coastal area of North America. They return to Port Fairy on the same day every year I sit the 18th of September? Not in my notes. Their return flight takes in the flight path down the North American coast as far as California, then they battle the Pacific and clearing the North Island of New Zealand. Google has this information in abundance. I googled Griffith Island Shearwaters, Port Fairy. Victoria. westwind.
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    From your initial discription I was thinking "Herring Gulls", white body and head, grey wings, and coming up blank on a reason for the behavior you observed. Shearwaters I have no experience of.
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