The Seagulls

Two days ago, the seagulls had a war. Wish we knew what it was about. A lot of commotion over the top of our house – complete with black, angry seagull droppings on the kayak, the windows, our house. Every time I went outside, the mama seagull clacked her beak at me. She sat on the caravan roof while I was hanging the washing, then swooped as I was leaving the yard. Fin barked at her and she swooped at Fin too. Above us, the rest of the seagulls were screaming in circles.

Vronnie looks after these seagulls. When I say ‘looks after’, I mean that she can feed them from her own mouth. She doesn’t routinely (thank goodness), but that’s the depth of her feelings for these animals. Large and powerful birds, I’ve discovered the seagull is also something of a maligned creature. They are of course, coastal seabirds – so they fit right into our seaside neighbourhood. No gliding over vast rubbish tips here, but they’re equally opportunistic. This includes eating left-over-chips from the side of the bins and perusing beach carrion. Good times. 

Their favourite place to eat is from Vronnie’s balcony. She’s been feeding them for years; fish and bread and the rest. They’ve come to love her so much that, for a number of years, one pair have even built their nest on Vronnie’s next door neighbour’s roof. The neighbours keep the large white house next door as a holiday home. When they first bought the house, they did extensive works. Double storey balcony extension at the front, interior works… and a new roof. They’re away most of the time, so we don’t notice their house much. It’s getting impossible to miss the seagulls though. 

The seagulls have disgraced the neighbour’s new roof. So far: a seagull nest, a large collection of guano, dead baby seagulls. There’s an ecosystem up there. The neighbours come every once in a while and yes, they noticed too. They’ve installed anti-bird devices on their roof. Vronnie found some the other day that had blown off in these unusual easterlies. These devices can’t be working so well. 

Meanwhile, the daddy seagull is in love with Vronnie. He’s been in love with her for years. Vronnie calls him Gaviota, Spanish for seagull. Gaviota loves her so much, he’ll often land a few feet away and preen himself. It’s the boldest move for seagull/cross-species flirting I’ve seen so far. The mother gull will respond by landing on top of Vronnie’s conservatory roof, stamping her feet and pecking violently. She’s pecked the seals off the roof so much that Jack has spent good time fixing his step-mum’s roof. She’ll only stop when Vronnie feeds her – again and again. Her devotion is impressive., 

So why were they warring? I had no clue, until Vronnie filled me in. She’s noticed a bird’s been  sitting for long stretches of time on the house – next door. It looks like her other next door neighbour is cooking a nest too. So maybe this was why the seagulls were fighting? Vronnie has good hunches… and I’ve learnt seagulls live rich interior lives. 



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