Subject: Re: A gull eats pigeon story
Date: May 3 10:06:54 1995
From: Serge Le Huitouze - serge at

> Seems to me we had a small discussion about this last year. Someone had
> reported seeing a gull catch and kill pigeons by sit-and-wait method.
> The gull would sit still and wait for a pigeon to walk too close (trusting
> the gull of course) and the gull would lunge out, killing the pigeon and
> eating it. More evidence of how predatory gulls can be. In New England
> (as Peter Whitlock has already pointed out) Greater Black-backed Gulls
> can be rather fierce predators. On 2 occasions I saw them catch and kill
> adult Laughing Gulls at a gull/tern nesting colony, using a similar
> approach. Sit and wait, then grab the gull by the neck and either drown
> it, or just squeeze the neck. After seeing such things, people tend to
> take on a greater respect for gulls, seeing them as more than just a
> scavenger.

It reminds me of something I read about the same guy Greater Black-backed Gull
_Larus marinus_ catching an immature Northern Shelduck _Tadorna tadorna_ in
southern Sweden, by forcing it to dive endlessly. Eventually, the Northern
Shelduck drowned and the Gull was then able to take it.

As for the English usage thread, one can say that, that day the Greater
Black-backed Gull HAD a Northern Shelduck !

By the way, French birders also tend to use "to have" instead of "to see".
The hunter instinct seems to be universal (after all, we all descend from
hunters-gatherers :-)

A bird in the bush is better than two in the hand.

Serge Le Huitouze Intelligent Software Group
email: serge at School of Computing Science
tel: (604) 291-5423 Simon Fraser University
fax: (604) 291-3045 Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6 CANADA