There are certain inevitabilities that living in a seaside town will afford its inhabitants. On the plus side, we have the sea, of-course. It’s hard to imagine living away from the coast when we are so familiar with this beast of the natural order. And there is also the cultural attractions that such a disposition brings, Brighton being a prime example, and the beach itself, although that is to be the subject of a later post.
One ‘inevitability’, whether we like it or not, is the presence of that most marmite of birds- the Seagull.
The Seagull is as Brighton as the most Brightonian thing in the most Brightonian part of Brighton. If there was to be an episode of Family Fortunes in which we were required to name something associated with the town, would that not be the top answer? Even the town’s football team bears the nickname.
The Seagulls in Brighton are often large birds, feeding themselves well on the easy pickings of the sea, invertebrates, rodents, but most annoying and equally fascinating of all, various delicacies that we ourselves may offer- or not offer as the case may be.
Natives would mostly take care when eating out in public, but perhaps visitors are less suspecting. Our dear airborne friends may have been reared well, but manners they have not, and many a well salted chip has found its way the skies.
On a personal note, I often wonder why, to my great irritation, people feed the ducks at Queens Park pond. The Seagulls merely join the frenzie and take the greatest share, then just to show their disdainful appreciation leave their doo-dah around the pond thus ensuring the duckweed is beautifully encouraged.
There is also the noise. I once lived in a house near Blakers Park and was regularly awoken each morning by a family of Seagulls getting their chicks ready for fishing school. Now, I’ve heard the foxes and their mating rituals over the back here, but at least they have the respect to get it over and done with quickly-although I’m not entirely sure the vixen is happy with that.
We shouldn’t be too angry though, because we don’t have the right to be. Firstly we eroded their natural habitat with our building and expansion on the coasts of our own species, and being that Seagulls are naturally scavengers with food stocks in decline, is it not understandable that they would take advantage of our wasteful ways.
Seagulls are canny creatures; as much as they have no problem in eating the young of other birds, they fully understand the risk that various predators pose to their own offspring. I witnessed the murder of a Seagull below the window of my flat by one of the neighbourhood cats recently, I wont go into any detail, but it was quite ugly. The high-rise blocks that surround us, as well as awkward roofs that foxes and cats cannot climb, provide safe haven from the cliffs that are no longer as commonly available.
The Seagull is here to stay, and rightly so, it was in these parts before us. One observation does need to be made though. There is actually no such thing as a Seagull. There is a shed load of Gull species, but that is not one of them. You wont find it mentioned in any serious archive of birds. I’m not sure where this name originates from. But, anyway, I thought they were worth a quick scribble.