I’m one of those people that appreciates nature and all of her wonders no matter how great or small. Though not a tree hugger by any means, I do believe it is in the best interests of all of mankind that we be good stewards of the planet and all the creatures which inhabit it. However, I am also a believer in the old adage which suggests that too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. Such is the case with seagulls… Or what I like to call City buzzards.
I googled this little factoid before I started this entry just to make sure, and was able to confirm that seagulls have been a protected migratory bird for nearly a hundred years. I think it’s safe to say, given the population explosion beyond their natural habitat into places such as urban areas and city dumps, that somebody screwed up their calculations.
Somebody should probably look into this.
I recently found myself in need of a few items at the grocery store. It was cold and overcast, but I went anyway because – I am proud to announce- I have mastered the art of dressing in layers. Besides, I told myself, it’s no big deal… It’s not windy, and it’s not supposed to snow, and there were only a few items that I simply could not live without.
And so it was that I bundled up and headed for the bus stop to wait for the next # 10 inbound. I got off at my usual spot and headed for my favorite coffee shop where I stopped to get “the usual,” before heading down a few blocks to the store.
As is routinely the case with my great good fortune, when I was almost to the door it started to snow. Rather heavily in fact. I chuckled and shook my head as I walked in, grabbed a cart, and began my hell-ride through the bumper cars sea of humanity. I gathered up my supplies (along with the compulsory extras that somehow always manage to jump into the cart when I’m not looking), and headed for the checkout lines.
Once outside the door, I pulled over to the right and began transferring the contents of the cart into my heavy duty backpack. As I was doing this, I could hear seagulls bickering with each other over some random rotten french fry or discarded piece of garbage behind me and to my left. I ignored it at first, trying to focus on the matters at hand, but it started sounding like a war was about to break out, and I couldn’t help but turn around to see what the hell was going on.
Sure enough, there was a bird bitch – fight kicking off (in the driving snow no less) right across from the bus stop. Some asshat had apparently decided it would be a good idea to dump half a bag of Cheetos onto the ground. The mess was now soggy and melting into the wet snow next to the curb, and about 10 or 15 City buzzards we’re trying to work out which of them would be cleaning up the mess.
The waiting area at the bus stop was empty when I got there, and I had about 15 minutes to wait before the number 10 outbound would arrive. Like always, I tucked my cane and backpack under the shelter and settled in to watch the shitshow that was taking place about 30 ft straight in front of me.
I had a flashback to my childhood and all of those Sunday nights that I spent watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” I laughed out loud a little at how much this feeding frenzy reminded me of all those images I saw of buzzards fighting for a spot on a carcass. Watching those seagulls made me feel bad, all over again, for that poor water buffalo that had had the great misfortune of being at the back of the line when the stampede of fear kicked off.
Before everything was said and done another 20 or 30 seagulls had joined the fray, but only a handful succeeded in getting any of the orange goo. One gull in particular – the largest of them all as far as my feeble eyes could tell – chased off most of the competition and got most of the bounty for himself.
After a lot of screeching, and several hovering laps around the parking lot to make sure he didn’t miss anything, he perched himself on the very top of a light pole… Looked right at me as if to say “what the hell do you think you’re looking at?”… and screeched a little bit more before settling himself down up there to flap – dry his wings and take a short rest.
[PostScript: Something that has always mystified me though, including all of my years spent at the ocean where Seagulls are supposed to live, is just how quickly word travels amongst and between them. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the Seagulls uptown, 15 blocks away, heard about – let alone got there in time to fight over – a big assed pile of melting Cheetos. Just a little food for thought. [sic] ]