Jan 05 2009

The dangers of junk food

Published by at 9:45 pm under Bird Behavior

Wing-tagged Ring-billed Gull (photo by Chuck Tague)If you read Chuck Tague’s Nature Observer journal you’ve seen this picture recently.  It’s a ring-billed gull with a fluorescent orange wing tag acquired as part of a gull study in Chicago.  When Chuck snapped this picture, the gull was at Flagler Beach, Florida. 

Before I saw Chuck’s photo I hadn’t thought much about wing-tags but suddenly there’s a spate of reports on PABIRDS of tagged gulls in eastern Pennsylvania.  One gull was found in Berks County, the other 50 miles away in Bucks County.  Both were tagged for a Massachusetts reservoir study.

So how do people catch gulls?  The details made me laugh. 

One gull was captured at a Walmart parking lot in Northborough, Massachusetts using a rocket net baited with Cheez-Its.   The other was captured in Worcester, Mass using a rocket net baited with bread and popcorn.  

Junk food is their weakness. 

I wonder what tempted this guy.  Fritos?

(photo by Chuck Tague)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “The dangers of junk food”

  1. Kallenon 06 Jan 2009 at 5:49 am

    I am so glad you posted this. A month ago I was feeding the gulls and saw one that appeared to have orange stickers on his wings. At first I thought they were those bread stickers you see on loaves of bread that say $1.50 or something like that, but upon further inspection, I saw that the bird was banded.

    I tried doing a google search to see if I could figure out who tagged him, but was not successful. I live right near Northborough, so I am wondering if these are the same birds.

  2. Kate St. Johnon 06 Jan 2009 at 8:43 am

    I’ll bet you saw one of the gulls tagged nearby. I forgot to put the gull study link in my article. I’ve added it above – and here – so you can find out more:
    http://www.mass.gov/dcr/waterSupply/watershed/study/

  3. Kristenon 10 Jan 2009 at 2:35 am

    I assume you’ve heard about the gull in Scotland who has been stealing chips daily from a local convenience store? If not, do a search on YouTube or the BBC site and you’ll find the cheeky birdie in action.

  4. Kate St. Johnon 10 Jan 2009 at 8:31 am

    Amazing! The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VILrWeO5QYs

  5. Jon 13 Jan 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Apparently the gulls at Walt Disney World have such a sweet tooth that they aren’t above swiping food right out of peoples hands . . or at least this one gull with an apparent taste for cinnamon. I forget which of my 2 trips to Disney World this happened (either December, ’94 or June ’99) but I was at one of the parks with my mom and sister and my mom had purchased a churro. I decided I wanted to try it and took a bite then turned my back to look at something when I saw the shadow of a bird pass low overhead. When I turned back to my mom, she was no longer holding the churro as a gull had swooped down and taken it right out of her hand.

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