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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gullp!

In a previous post, I mentioned seeing gulls picking up Starfish or Sea Stars and eventually swallowing them...a long painstaking process.  Over a 10-15 minute period I took photos of a  gull accomplishing such a feat.  I've shortened the process in the following photo clips, music added.  During the clips you will see a greyer gull picking up a Starfish attached to a rock.  I'm not sure if the gull had any luck with than one.


In one of my shots, the starfish was poised in such a way that it appeared to me that the gull was smiling.



I have included a youtube video recently taken in Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, by Ron Mulligan, a member of the Comox Valley Camera Club.  His video shows some other predators that are after the spawning salmon...black bears!

20 comments:

  1. Fantastic series of photos, Glo! I've never seen a gull eat before, and certainly not a starfish. Looks like hard work!

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    1. Thanks Nikki! Yes, a tricky bit of beakmanship to get it into position and eventually swallow the starfish.

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  2. I've never seen them tackle starfish....amazing.

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    1. Hi Adrian ~ It was amazing to watch as well!

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  3. Well, I have learned something today - never seen that before - what a mouthful. You would have thought they would stand on the starfish and pull the limbs off rather than eat it whole, but then they have always been greedy beggars.

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    1. Hi Elaine ~ Maybe their webby feet wouldn't do quite the same job of holding it as their beak! Whatever their strategy, the gulls seem to get the job done. It's a bit 'gaggy' to watch, actually!

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  4. Fascinating that's something I've not seen either, and was thinking the same as Elaine. I'm sure that black bears wouldn't have a problem with them. Flighty xx

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    1. Glad I was able to share this procedure with you too, Flighty! Seeing a bear swallow a starfish would be most unusual! I don't think their appetites run in that direction...however salmon is a choice choice!

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  5. What a great series of photos, Glo. I love the seemingly smiling gull. It looks like Flipper! :)

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    1. Thanks, Hilary! Yes, I can see Flipper's expression now that you mention it. :)

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  6. Makes a change from seeing them pinch chips from people who are enjoying a bag of fish and chips at the seaside ;)
    A great series of photos Glo.

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    1. LOL, John! It would be an easier job diving in for fish and chips than attacking a pointy starfish, I'm sure. Glad you liked the photos!

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    2. A gull stole my ice cream, straight out of my hand and swallowed it in one, you could see the shape of the cone going down its gullet: it was like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. They must have no gag reflex?

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    3. UPDD ~ What a shock that must have been, seeing the whole cone disappear down the gullet! I have heard that often the starfish shape can be seen when they are swallowed whole as well, but perhaps the one I saw was too small!

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  7. Good gracious me....I never thought that starfish would go down whole!!!! I was gagging watching the pics, you would think it would choke wouldn't you? Brilliant pix, I really enjoyed watching that episode.xxxx

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    1. Sorry for the gag response, but I'm glad you enjoyed the pics! I was feeling the same way when I was watching the gull!

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  8. I have heard that seagulls eat starfish, but have never seen it before, great video and image of the smiling gull.
    Liked the Tofino video too, BTW it is on the west side of Vancouver Island not the east.

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    1. Thanks Gillian ~ I have corrected east to west ... don't know what I was thinking! Glad I was able to show you a gull eating the starfish...a weird sight for sure :)

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  9. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Glo! Hope your day is perfect.

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    1. Thank you Nikki! It was a great day :)

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