Saturday, December 17, 2016

Baffled herring gulls

Some interesting behaviour from juveniles herring gulls.

These birds soon learn that the easiest way to break into bivalve mollusc shells, like mussels, is to carry them aloft and then drop them on a hard surface until they shatter.

This afternoon I watched these young birds on Union Quay in North Shields trying to do the same thing with large rubber washers. These must have come from fishing nets, that fishermen from the Fish Quay often dry and repair here.

First the birds grabbed the washers in their beaks and tried to whack them on the concrete then, when that didn't work .....

They flew up with them and dropped them on the quay, when they just bounced.

They gave up after about three attempts.


  1. A great capture of some ingenious, and utterly misplaced, behaviour

    1. I suppose that after a while the youngsters get better at distinguishing things like this from real food. I've seen carrion crows doing this too

  2. I expect that they will 'get it' in the end.

    1. i always marvel at how quickly birds learn - especially gulls and members of the crow family


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