Subject: Re: gull thread
Date: May 5 14:59:32 1995
From: James West - jdwest at

Let me throw in my two cents worth as a Brit, familiar with both Atlantic
Puffins and Greater Black-Backed Gulls, and the David Attenborough film.
There is nothing surprising in the story of the puffin being swallowed by
a gull in one piece. My sister, who has studied a couple of puffin
colonies in Britain, has seen her subjects picked off by gulls more times
than she can count, and says they generally go down whole. She _thinks_
she remembers even seeing a Herring Gull getting one down.

On Fri, 5 May 1995, Stuart MacKay wrote:

> Neil Fergusson wrote:
> > In terms of that recent thread on gulls eating puffins, I
> > must say that I found my Scottish friend's account of Greater
> > Black-backeds eating whole puffins "hard to swallow". I am
> > interested to see the David Attenborough accounts, however. I
> > did once, see for myself, gulls in Scotland swallowing massive
> > fish coming off a fishing vessel. Fish, that were roughly on
> > the same order of magnitude of the gull's body length (minus
> > head and tail, and somewhat thinner).
> >
> > I imagine that the capture of most falcons is illegal, which
> > would limit the activities of most "hobbying" falconers. I
> > wonder if gulls can be trained as reasonable substitutes ?
> Well t'would appear that GBBG's have a very large appetite. I must have seen
> the David Attenborough thing on TV sometime - maybe it was a BIG GBBG and a
> small Puffin :-{
> Taking ANY wild bird into captivity is illegal in the UK. Only crows can be
> killed without a licence on the grounds of being agricultural pests.
> The only problem with keeping gulls as pets would be finding enough food to
> stop them attacking and eating any small child present. Not much of a problem
> if there's a Puffin colony nearby though ....
> Stuart MacKay

JAMES WEST Slavic Dept. Univ. of Washington DP-32 Seattle, WA 98195
Tel: 206-543-4829 Fax: 206-543-9285 E-mail: jdwest at