Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bent Beak...


This unfortunate juvenile herring gull with a strangely deformed beak was on the foreshore at North Shields, near the mouth of the River Tyne this afternoon.

I've seen starlings with a similar deformity on several occasions but this is the first time I've seen it in a gull. The bird probably has difficulty feeding and doesn't look in particular good condition, but if it hangs around the car park behind the beach and feeds on the chips that people chuck to the gulls it might be OK...........



14 comments:

  1. That looks so strange Phil. I do hope it survives.

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  2. Hope he survives. Amazes me how some birds with these deformities manage.

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  3. Some years ago there were many examples of gulls on the Northumberland and Berwickshire coasts with deformed legs. Any ideas what causes these problems? At present we have an immature blackbird in our garden with only a stump in place of a right leg. It seems to be coping pretty well although on a slippery surface it has to keep fluttering its wings to remain upright. Roger Smith

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  4. Some information on the RSPB website regarding bill deformities includes the following 'If the tip of a mandible is broken off, the opposing mandible will grow unchecked with upper mandibles elongating in a downward curve and lower mandibles curving upwards. Mandibles that have become displaced laterally, so that their tips are not opposing, often both grow abnormally forming a slightly crossed bill'.
    There are other causes too of course including genetic. Even if this bird is feeding reasonably ok it will have major problems preening and and getting rid of infestations. Perhaps a reason for it not looking to healthy. Cheers Brian

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  5. Me too toffeapple - it looked a bit bedraggled...

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  6. Hi Keith, I've wondered that about several starlings that I've seen with a similar problem - but they had the benefit of bird tables

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  7. Hi Roger, I know that that city pigeons often have missing toes and seem to recall a specific disease was involved - but can't remember what it was. I've occasionally seen shorebirds with none at all - like the turnstone at http://cabinetofcuriosities-greenfingers.blogspot.com/2010/02/cold-enough-to-freeze-toes-off.html that seemed to be managing pretty well.

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  8. Thanks Brian, that's answered my question - much appreciated. All the best, Phil

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  9. Visiting for the first time - thanks to Adrian's recommendation. I'll be back!

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  10. I was told that many of these deformities are hereditary..........The birder was talking about albino Blackbirds.

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  11. Thanks for visiting Scriptor Senex, best wishes, Phil

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  12. Hi Adrian, yes, I think albino plumage is always genetically determined..

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  13. That does not look very good for the gull.

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  14. I think it's going to struggle to survive, jessiethought, unless that bit at the end breaks away...

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