A new link in the food chain.
June 24, 2009 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Paul Watson plots a new course for the Sea Shepherd.
posted by The Deej at 12:22 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

To be fair, whales are delicious.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Laugh it up.

But we're next.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2009 [16 favorites]

Fishing them out of the ocean with nets, too. I've seen pictures!
posted by hermitosis at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Man. Gulls are total assholes!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2009 [15 favorites]

But we're next.

Next? NEXT? A gull took a sandwich right out of my daughter's hand once.
posted by GuyZero at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

It's like I said before: Seagulls are shitty animals, and should be wiped out.

Throw rocks at them in the hope of killing them.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Goddamn do I hate seagulls.
posted by lekvar at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

One of the comments below the pictures says that this is due to the fishing industry, which caused a population explosion among the gulls, which in turn learned to get even more food from the whales.
posted by Malice at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2009

Proof that vibrancy isn't just about color theory: I read a *summary* of Sophie's Choice just prior to stopping by The Blue and was nearly in tears thinking about the mother-calf pairs getting attacked by gulls.

(Wishes he'd been reading something more manly, like a summary of Red Heat, maybe.)
posted by bpm140 at 12:32 PM on June 24, 2009

Basically we need to teach sharks to fly to redress the balance of nature.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]

You think YOU hate seagulls? For fuck's sake, they're my state's STATE BIRD. Fuckin' state bird, sitting in the landfill eating out of a discarded Pampers. Yeeesh.

Man, do I hate those nasty-ass birds.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]

See, they're not so smart, they're utterly gullible.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]

I can sea how you would think that.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2009

Jonathan Livingston Seagull II: The South Beach Diet
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

Now I actually have a fact-based reason to hate seagulls and swerve at them in my car.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

How did the whales manage to get ice cream cones?
posted by tommasz at 12:48 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Malice - it's not so much the fishing industry that attracts them but the fish processing plant they've built in nearby Puerto Madryn (man does that thing fucking stink).
posted by jontyjago at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kittens of the air!
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

My fellow Americans, our historic allies the Whelsh are in their hour of greatest need. In recent weeks, they have come under attack by roving groups of rogue terrorist sea gulls. I ask you today to tell your representatives in Congress to support the Oceanborne Alliance Cooperative Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Big Fucking Anti-Aircraft Guns Mounted On Aquatic Life bill.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

In my neck of the woods, seagulls are traditionally known as "shit hawks."
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2009

Is there anyone who doesn't detest the damn things? Rats with wings is all they are.

As a kid I was told that if you feed seagulls raw rice or Alka-Seltzer, they explode. Sadly, it's not true.
posted by phliar at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2009

Sodium wrapped in bread.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

What took them so long to learn this trick? Seems like a no-brainer...

I like seagulls. The last while I have spent a lot of time inland, but whenever I get somewhere that I can see seagulls again, it kind of feels like coming home.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2009

Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!
posted by Kabanos at 1:02 PM on June 24, 2009 [15 favorites]

Aquatic flying zombies! That's what they bloody are.

They'll literally harass anything that moves. I've seen them chase off bald eagles.
posted by Naberius at 1:09 PM on June 24, 2009

You don't like seagulls? Let me tell you something. The last few years they have started to build nests on the roofs of the apartment buildings where I live. When they have nests, anyone moving around the houses makes them aggressive. Which means that every summer they attack everyone who moves in this area. Going to the store? Just wait and a gull with a 3-4 foot wing span will dive right at you like a [bleep] dive bomber, turn in the air and come back again.

As a kid I was told that if you feed seagulls raw rice or Alka-Seltzer, they explode. Sadly, it's not true.
posted by phliar

That's really too bad. But if we could feed them dynamite?
posted by Termite at 1:25 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Alternatively; Killer whale attacks gull pelican.
posted by quin at 1:31 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

  • What's the sea without seagulls?
  • From Jonathan Livingston Seagull “Why, Jon, why?” His mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can’t you leave low flying to the pelicans, the albatross? Why don’t you eat? Jon, you are bone and feathers!”
    “I don’t mind being bone and feathers, Mum. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know”
    “See here, Jonathan,” said his father, not unkindly. “Winter isn’t far away. Boats will be few, and the surface fish will be swimming deep. If you must study, then study food, and how to get it. This flying business is all very well, but you can’t eat a glide, you know. Don’t you forget that the reason you fly is to eat”
  • Resourceful little buggers... let's see a whale do this.
  • Different gulls - see them, hear them
  • More pics
posted by Meatbomb at 1:34 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

We even have them in Wyoming now, which is not even remotely near any sea.

They're completely unnatural and disgusting. I wish I could train all of the crows here to attack them, thus solving two pest bird problems, but no such luck.
posted by elder18 at 1:36 PM on June 24, 2009

kuujjuarapik: "previous seagull two-minute hate"

Yeah, I had no idea what a vast pool of Lari laridae loathing I'd tapped into there.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:37 PM on June 24, 2009

I like Crows.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2009

More background details from an old National Geographic.
posted by binturong at 1:40 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I thought I was seeing things when I spotted a couple in the middle of TN, but there they were. I imagine they hang out near the landfill.
posted by jquinby at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2009

The building that I work in faces the Milwaukee river, and our river walk (literally a sidewalk running parallel to the water) has been a nesting place for seagulls for years now. Every spring, they descend to hatch and raise their babies regardless of humans efforts to displace them.

This would be fine, except that this area is also where the smokers are allowed to congregate. And when I still fell into that catagory, I'd stand out side and watch my coworkers eye the birds with pure terror. Part of this was justified, as people would get gull-droppings on them pretty regularly, and that was just gross. But some of it was more of a irrational-phobia kind of fear; people just didn't like being that near to wild birds.

So, of course, I did every thing I could to capitalize on that terror. Mainly because it was fun.

Some of the lies I told;

- Bird shit is highly corrosive and will actually burn your skin and hair if it gets on you.

- Seagulls are extremely territorial and will mob if they even think you are getting too close to their nest. They will attack with beak and claw and can do great damage (I was surprised this last one took, seagulls don't really have talons to speak of, and anyone looking at them standing right there next to us should have been able to see that.)

- That the two different species (ringbill and herring) were actually the same, and that the babies were born bigger than the parents and grew smaller as they aged. (This was made possible by the fact that the herring gull chicks would sometimes wander amongst the ringbill adults and anyone not familar with the differences might wonder why the baby was bigger than the "parents" it was chasing after.)

- That if they caught you eating, they would attack in mass to take your food.

My coup de grâce though was convincing people that, like parrots and crows, the seagulls were actually very intelligent, and that they could recognize specific people and understood human body language enough to identify hostile attitudes. And that, if they took offense at something someone said or did, they would follow that person to their car, make note of the type, and completely cover it with shit the next time they saw it. This worked well because being next to the river, gull poop is a random fact of life, and sometimes you just get unlucky and your car is covered.

Watching my coworkers, who hated the birds, trying to not offend them was one of my favorite summers ever.
posted by quin at 1:55 PM on June 24, 2009 [7 favorites]

Alternatively; Killer whale attacks gull pelican.

I saw a Sea World killer whale set out bait for a seagull, and then kill the bird.

The whale held back some fish in its mouth, then spit the fish out on the surface. When a seagull landed in the water to scoop up the fish, the whale came up from beneath the water and tore the seagull to pieces. All four whales in the tank then converged on the seagull parts and played with them.

I asked the Sea World guy standing nearby if what I thought I had seen -- whale setting a trap for the sea gull -- was really what happened.

Happens all the time, he said.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2009 [10 favorites]

In my neck of the woods, seagulls are traditionally known as "shit hawks."

Interesting. In my neck of the woods they're known as: Jewish pigeons.

posted by notreally at 1:57 PM on June 24, 2009

Time to tap into the National Strategic Alka Seltzer stockpile.
posted by cloax at 2:06 PM on June 24, 2009

Alternatively, orcas attack stingrays

Probably just practising for the seagulls...
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 2:28 PM on June 24, 2009

Astro Zombie: "Laugh it up.

But we're next.

So true. My fiancee and I received an ominous warning of the impending seagull Armageddon that awaits us all earlier this year while we were on a weekend away down at the Gold Coast.

There we were, just sitting on the beach, minding our own business when a seagull landed near us. He then proceeded to circle us, all the while getting closer and closer and keeping a watchful eye on us. Meanwhile, overhead, his friends circled us like vultures, as though they were waiting for him to execute some insidious, blood curdling plot that would keep them fed for weeks.

Eventually he flew off, having obviously decided that The Time Had Not Cometh... yet. But as the full set of terrifying pictures show, that gull clearly had foul play on his mind, and all in all it was a disturbing experience.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had to go make sure that the word seagull didn't mean pterodactyl everywhere except where I lived. There's a lot of seagull hate out there. And this is why stupid whales are going extinct, just dive you stupid fish/mammal/whatever, you can go under the water you know.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:50 PM on June 24, 2009

I happen to live near the beach which also happens to attract tourists. The stupid tourists think it's so neat that the seagulls will take chips and bread right out of their hands. This in turn as created a race of very aggressive seagulls that will dive and snatch food out of the local's hands when the shit head tourists leave town. My daughter has had several sandwiches and even ice cream snatched from her.

The hate I have for the tourists is only surpassed by the hate I have for the gulls.
posted by photoslob at 2:56 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Come on, people, haven't you seen Hitchcock's The Birds?

Because if you had seen it, you'd know that seagulls are the absolute least terrifying thing ever. A small child with a tennis racket could take on dozens.

The only reason they even got to Tippi Hedren was that she forgot how to use a door. Repeatedly.

I refuse to fear something that's only slightly smarter than Tippi Hedren.
posted by MrVisible at 3:01 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hitchcock's The Birds in 1m 40s (with a strange soundtrack.)
posted by binturong at 3:03 PM on June 24, 2009

If only there were tolerable seagull recipes.
posted by zennie at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2009

MetaFilter: only slightly smarter than Tippi Hedren
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:21 PM on June 24, 2009

If you want a really fearsome bird, check out Japan's tonbi. It's basically impossible to eat outdoors wherever they are in Japan. English translation = black kite.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:22 PM on June 24, 2009

Someone should try to wipe out that entire flock before the idea spreads worldwide.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:27 PM on June 24, 2009

Time for haul out my favorite Nemerov poem again. When I was young, this was about human cruelty:

The fishermen on Lake Michigan, sometimes,
For kicks, they spit two hunks of bait on hooks
At either end of a single length of line
And toss that up among the scavenging gulls,

Who go for it so fast that often two of them
Make the connection before it hits the water.
Hooked and hung up like that, they do a dance
That lasts only so long. The fishermen

Do that for kicks, on Lake Michigan, sometimes.
Now I realize it's an instruction manual.
posted by adipocere at 3:29 PM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]

And if you want a really, really fearsome bird (no for real; supposedly even zookeepers are afraid of this thing) check out the Cassowary.

Wikipedia takes a slightly different view of their threat level, but I think I'll still keep them at a distance.
posted by quin at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2009

The answer lies in trained dolphins. From here:
Her cunning has not stopped there. One day, when a gull flew into her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish. This seemed to give Kelly a new idea. The next time she was fed, instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish. After mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the dolphins.
posted by dirty lies at 3:59 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

As reported by Diane Ackerman in 1990. (new yorker registration required to read the whole article)
posted by Danf at 4:07 PM on June 24, 2009

Japanese bird sinks Wales
posted by ...possums at 4:54 PM on June 24, 2009

As a kid I was told that if you feed seagulls raw rice or Alka-Seltzer, they explode.

Sodium wrapped in bread.

Two pieces of meat, tied with dental floss. Two seagulls will gulp them down, two seagulls will attempt to fly away. Two seagulls will die.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:54 PM on June 24, 2009

adipocere beat me to it, and in poetic form to boot!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on June 24, 2009

“With more food, the ravens are breeding more and having more young.”

Others theorize that the recent covering up of local garbage dumps has cut off one of the ravens’ primary food supplies, forcing them to prey on vulnerable livestock.

So for both the ravens linked above and the gulls of the FPP, human manipulation of the environment has resulted in pressure on the population to adapt. And in both cases, they've turned to consuming mammals which we humans value and would prefer to protect. It's interesting, and by interesting I mean terrifying, to imagine what kinds of internecine wars among species against our interests in the established ecosystem will be forced to occur by the global strain climate change will increasingly be putting on all living organisms. Of course, since their desperation is both inevitable and our own damn fault, my sympathies can't help but lie with the bandit animals. Although... those poor whales, already on the brink of extinction, and months between meals, being literally eaten alive by thousands of tiny bites.
posted by kaspen at 9:48 PM on June 24, 2009

I live by the seaside and seagulls are a particular source of ire here, as are the fuckwit tourists who feed them pasties and chips. The absence of the tourists in the winter means they get pretty aggressive for food then and will happily attack people to get it, I've had food snatched from my hand three times in three years, my SO once, and one took aa full half doorstop toasted bacon sandwich foof my plate at a cafe and gulped the thing down in one piece - you could actually see the corners go down its throat. We currently have a mother and young on our bedroom roof, the young aren't at the begging phase yet but they soon will be and that will mean contstant noise. Worst of all, they are shitting machines, sometimes specialising in precision dropping of large lumps of turd, sometimes in carpet bombing where their filth can cover a 3m diameter circle. After my bacon sandwich disappeared another bird wished us goodbye with its spray gun arse, and they are a real threat to a good night out if they flock over an outdoor harbour side pub garden. Worst incident I know of, a friend was finishing a jog and one crapped so it landed in her face - she struggled to keep her dinner down.
posted by biffa at 5:26 AM on June 25, 2009

If only we could train sea lions to jump out of the water and eat those sea gulls while they are perched on the whales ...

Until we do, I will gladly sign up for that job shooting sea gulls out of whales' backs.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 9:05 AM on June 25, 2009

Kaspen, although I'll agree that human encroachment is disruptive, I fail to see why gulls wouldn't have stumbled into the whale eating niche regardless. I can't see any downside for gulls from adopting the all you can eat whale buffet strategy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:13 AM on June 25, 2009

I am not against killing the seagulls if that's what it takes, but jesus fucking christ what is it with the torture suggestions?

I don't care if they're eating children, that shit is not appropriate.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:40 AM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Humans are mean creatures.
posted by zennie at 2:41 PM on June 25, 2009

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