[Tweeters] ring-billed children

carenp carenp at totalise.co.uk
Fri Feb 4 21:41:54 PST 2005

as yesterday was a day of (mostly) warmth, considering the season, i did a
tour of the kirkland beachfronts... didn't find any new species, and that
darned white pelican is still missing...

however, while i was waiting for the common goldeneye male to come back to
the surface at marina park, i happened to look up to see some ring-billed
gull (juveniles, i think)... and they appeared to be playing a game...

at first, i thought they were opening snails or other mollusks: they would
circle higher and higher, then drop their intended dinner on the rocks

however, two things wrong with that: well, three things:

(1) they weren't dropping their dinner over rocks, but over grass and/or
(2) they weren't letting it hit the ground
(3) the "dinner" was mouth-sized pine cones...

i only know this third "truth" because i have photos of the cones in the
mouths, and one photo where the cone has just been released (or almost

the reason i think it's a game: several gulls were playing, and it appeared
they were trying to see how many times they could release said "morsel"
without losing it in the water or the grass, AND how steep a dive they would
require to reacquire their cone... frequently, these gulls would go into a
steep dive that would be the envy of the blue angels, and rarely did they
lose their cones...

has anyone else seen this behaviour?

00 caren
today, edmonds, yesterday, kirkland
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