There are no take out fish and chip shops along Crofton's waterfront, and the gulls here eat clams or starfish or mussels or young crabs far more often than fries. Unless, of course, they have access to a smartphone.
|Hello? Salty's Fish and Chips? Do you deliver to Crofton?|
You do? Oh, good, that'll be two extra large sides of fries, please!
On my morning and afternoon walks with Maggie, I find it relaxing and fascinating to watch the gulls as they dive for crabs, tear mussels from the side of the wharf, wrestle with starfish bigger than their beaks, or drop clams from on high to the rocks below to crack open those tightly closed shells.
|Come here you darn sea star! It's dinner time, and you're it!|
|Now, where did I put my beer?|
I've noticed they nearly always seem to wash their food - or, at least, the shell fish - dipping them at the water's edge or dropping them into shallow water before retrieving them and flying high to smash them on the rocks below.
|Mussels for breakfast! Clean, fresh mussels!|
The other morning, I saw a gull spend a good twenty minutes locating a small crab amidst the rocks, catching it, washing it, and then prying each part open to suck down the insides. By the time he was done, all that was left was a very clean, intact back shell and a few crumbs of shell from the legs.
|C'mon, you, I know you are in there!|
|Off to the water's edge to rinse him off!|
|Yum! Fresh crab!|
They are clever, crafty, and often beautiful birds with full and interesting lives, and seem to live quite harmoniously with the ducks and herons and oystercatchers who share their environment.
|Gulls and heron on the wharf|
|I think she's talking about us! Is this our fifteen minutes of fame?|
One thing I have learned from watching the diversity of birds on Canada's west coast: there is no such thing as an 'ordinary' bird. Each is unique, and remarkable in its resourcefulness, skill, social interactions, and problem-solving ability. And even the lowly seagull brings great joy to my life.