Subject: Re: Gulls Eating Common Murre Chicks
Date: May 6 16:39:14 1995
From: R D. Bayer - rbayer at

Jon Anderson reported a gull eating a murre chick that was 2/3+
of adult size.

Murre chicks that have gone to sea can differ widely in size. In 1981,
I saw gulls separate a murre chick swimming with an adult and kill the
chick. However, a series of gulls took their turns at trying to swallow
it unsuccessfully. Finally, they all gave up and let it float to shore
where I collected it--it weighed 246 g (1986 Murrelet 67:30-31).

Unfortunately, I did not have any place to send the specimen, so it is not
now possible to make other measurements to see which measurement
(e.g., width) might have been the critical one limiting a gull's
capacity to swallow it.

So gulls can't swallow everything they can kill, and they can't swallow
all murre chicks that have "fledged" (i.e., left the colony).


Range Bayer rbayer at; P.O. Box 1467, Newport, Oregon 97365 USA