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A seagull conundrum 
28th-Jul-2006 04:43 pm
kitten
It's another warm, muggy day in Aber-vegas, so I went down to do a bit of gardening in the front garden this afternoon.

I discovered that some wonderful soul had taken a rake to it and mulched it some. It looks so, so lovely. The smell of the roses wafts up to my window and makes me a very happy camper.

Since the front is done, I went out the back to see if there are any green berries on the brambles yet. (I predicted that we'd decimated too far and that there would be no berries this year. Hate Love to say it, I'm right.) In amongst the brambles is a seagull.

Now, I noticed this seagull in the backyard for the last two days. I didn't think much of it, they seem to like our backyard as a worm catching site or what have you. (Actually, I think they just like pooping on the lawn furniture. Dirty sky-rats.)

So, I shoo the bird, as I'm trying to give Caoimhe a treat and she's freaked out. (Unsurprising, as the bird was shrieking like a banshee since the time I came out and it's got a good 6 kilos on Caoimhe.)

The bird didn't fly off. Now, yes, seagulls here are lazy gits, so I ran at it. Out came the wings, but no flying off. I chased it some more...round and round the garden we went. (I'm sure that the upstairs neighbors got a right chuckle if they were looking out.)

So, the conundrum: it's scaring both Caoimhe and the other cat, Monty, with in an inch of their lives. Mostly because other seagulls keep dive bombing the yard. The seagull is brownish, is it a baby? It's enormous, so I ask that semi-rhetorically.

What do I do? Even though they are dirty little buggers, I don't think I could bring myself to kill it. (If I did, as slow as it flutters away, it wouldn't take too much strategy to wring its neck.) It doesn't seem sick and definitely isn't injured externally, but I don't want it to die in the back garden either. At that size, it would stink up the place.

In any event, I'm taking the camera down to see if I can get pictures of it, and of the two cats all puffed out. They're bristling like they've never bristled before.

Edit: The downstairs neighbor, D, says it's a baby. Guess we'll leave it.
comments 
28th-Jul-2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
yeah, i think the young ones have the brown plumage, which they lose for the normal colours when they reach maturity.

Feed it bread laced with bicarb of soda, it will go away eventually ...
28th-Jul-2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
Probably a herring gull

http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/h/herringgull/index.asp?i=1

Less likely, as they are greyer, greater or lesser black-backed gull

http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/g/greatblackbackedgull/index.asp?i=1
http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/l/lesserblackbackedgull/index.asp?i=1

Even less likely, a glaucous or Iceland gull. Right colour, but it would be strange for them to be that far south in summer/

http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/g/glaucousgull/index.asp
http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/i/icelandgull/index.asp
28th-Jul-2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the lack of practical advice in that reply.

The RSPB does have a page on gulls in towns (http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/unwantedvisitors/gullsintown/index.asp) but their "discouraging gulls" information is not very useful for your situation. :-(
28th-Jul-2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that it's a baby explains the other divebombers as well. We've had a number of baby birds around us lately. When they hit about adult size, they are also hopping around the ground without flying. The parents stay near and will dive bomb to drive you off while the baby is screeching. I've seen that behavior in a couple of different species near us this year. So, if that's truly the case, she should be on her way in a couple of days.
28th-Jul-2006 05:57 pm (UTC) - Caution
From the other comments, the youth of the bird is a potentially likely explanation but the bird could also be sick but not yet look sick. I'd be concerned about rabies (can birds get rabies?)or some other nasty thing.

Please don't try to touch the bird and encourage the kitties to keep their distance. It's probably nothing but its better to be safe than sorry.

Is there an animal control department or something you can call to handle the bird?
28th-Jul-2006 11:15 pm (UTC) - Re: Caution
I think David and I are going to try to trap it tomorrow and dump it over the garden wall into the more open area by the burn.

I don't know if they get rabies, but it has a nasty looking beak, so I'll leave it alone. :)
3rd-Aug-2006 05:36 pm (UTC) - Re: Caution
For anyone returning to this entry, I mean nasty here to refer to it's ability to peck the living shit out of me.

That is all.
28th-Jul-2006 11:30 pm (UTC) - Re: Caution
Last time I looked, we don`t get rabies in the UK. also according to the link below birds don't get rabies. however it's still good advise to keep clear.

I think it's just young and needs a bit of space to learn to fly properly
28th-Jul-2006 11:33 pm (UTC) - Re: Caution
and now for the link I forgot to put on
http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbrabies.htm
29th-Jul-2006 08:05 pm (UTC) - Re: Caution
That's a relief, but I'm glad to hear you guys will be careful anyway. Sounds like you have a pretty good plan :)
28th-Jul-2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
Aber-Vegas, huh? We call Spokane Spo-Vegas. By warm, what do you mean exactly (in Farenheit please)?

By the way, thanks for the Demon tip. Looks good.

As far as neighborhoods go, (see, here is another aberdeen question creeping in), we have rented a flat in AB10 7BQ. Are we in a scary part of town, or no?

Thanks! I would have loved to see you chasing the baby seagull around the yard.
28th-Jul-2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
Good neighborhood. Close to the uni, obviously, and close to ASDA and Sainsburys and B&Q. :)

Lots of students in that area, but it's not a route home from the bars, so you shouldn't get a lot of hooting and hollering.

Let's see...today was 21C, which is 70F. The hottest it has been in Aberdeen this summer was 26C (I think?), which is 79F.

You get acclimated, and then 80F seems boiling. Then again, the heat only lasts for a month...and only while the sun's up.
29th-Jul-2006 09:07 pm (UTC) - Rabies
Last I heard, rabies was possible only in mammals, and not all of them can get it. For instance, rats may pass many diseases, but they can't get rabies since they are rodents.
30th-Jul-2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
this made me laugh so hard tears streamed down my cheeks! haha mostly the part of you outside chasing this seagull. hahaha i'm still laughing! LOL! (sorry...i just couldn't resist that part ;-) )
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