Juvenile seagulls are absolute dodo birds
Adult seagulls are definitely a piece of work — large powerful birds, graceful in flight, quick-witted and always willing to use their size to intimidate their smaller peers — scavenging seabirds through-and-through.
In their adolescence however, seagulls are more of an indefinite article — un-birds, if you will — ungainly, unattractive, uncertain and largely unable or unwilling to fly.
Did I mention unintelligent?
A youngster with eyes bigger than its gullet
Consider the young seagull that I encountered first thing Tuesday morning in the alley on the south side of West Broadway Avenue, just before Hemlock Street.
With its head tucked close to its body it was a bag of a bird standing on spindly stick legs by the side of the alley. Its dull plumage was virtually the mottled colour of pavement yet it was unmoved by the occasional car that had to swerve around it.
The only thing colourful or interesting about it was the big orange cheese bun clamped firmly in its bill.
Not including me, it had an audience of exactly one crow perched on a fence on the other side of the alley; although I believe that the crow would’ve said it was only watching the cheese bun — the dumb seagull certainly had nothing else to show for itself.
While the crow would’ve simply stood on the cheese bun and torn it into little pieces with its beak, the juvenile gull was too inexperienced to know that when confronted with a big problem you should first break it down into manageable pieces.
The only trick in its repertoire was to open wide and try to swallow the large bun in its entirety — which it tried to do at regular intervals, with much gesticulating and gulping but no success whatsoever.
I quickly tired of the spectacle and left but the crow remained riveted. The imaginative bird was possibly looking ahead to when the seagull would tire of the futility, give up and just leave the cheese bun.
It was a good thought if that’s what the crow was thinking but it probably underestimated the inexperience of the young seagull.
If the dumb-dumb didn’t know enough to be able to eat its prize it probably didn’t know when to quit either. Click the image to enlarge it.