Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Created by Chicks interview

Created by Chicks
August 31, 2011

Who's Creating Wednesday: Cathy Mazur
by Lizeth Alvarez

Cathy Mazur was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She earned a B.S. degree in Library Science from Mansfield University in 1975. In 1978, she received a Reading Specialist Certificate from the University of Scranton. She was employed by the Mid Valley School District as an elementary school librarian from 1975 until her retirement in 2010. While serving as the school librarian, she was responsible for implementing and operating the Reading Is Fundamental program. She has been married for 31 years to her husband Frank and has two children, Gary and Gia. Presently, she is writing books for children; embarking on a new career as an author.

Q: Why is creativity important to you?
A: Creativity is an outlet in which you can express yourself and share your ideas with others. A world absent of creativity would not allow society to push boundaries and lead to brighter futures.

Q: What do you enjoy the most?
A: Writing and creating stories for children. In my experience children are impressionable at an early age and I believe reading is a great way to help expand their minds and enable their development.

Q: Do you have any fears when creating?
A: The only fear I have is writing is a new adventure for me and I don’t know what to expect, but that fear of the unknown becomes easier as I step further away from my comfort zone.

Q: Are your friends and family supportive of the things you create?
A: Yes, my family and closest friends support me 100%. They provide a solid base of positive energy that I leverage when I need a boost.

Q: How do you find time to create?
A: Fortunately, I am retired from teaching and now have found more time to create. I recognize that for everyone time is at a premium but I would challenge those who want to create to focus on one project at a time and dedicate all of the time that can be afforded to it.

Born in Scranton, Pa., Cathy Mazur is the daughter of Gary and Catherine H. Errico. She was educated in the Dunmore public school system and graduated from Dunmore High School in 1971. She received a bachelor’s degree in Library Science from Mansfield State College in 1975. She received a Reading Specialist Certificate from the University of Scranton in 1978. Cathy was employed as an elementary school librarian for the Mid Valley School District from 1975 until her retirement in 2010. While at Mid Valley, she instituted and coordinated the RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) program for 33 years helping students to develop a love of reading outside the classroom. Cathy served on the Board of Directors for the Valley Community Library in Peckville, Pa. for over 20 years acting as president for one year and board secretary for 19 years. She presently serves on the library’s Developmental Committee chairing various fundraising events. She resides in Dickson City, Pa. with Frank, her husband of 31 years. They are the parents of two children, Gary, 27 and Gia, 19. Now in her retirement, she is focused on writing books for children like Stanley Seagull.

You can get Cathy’s book Stanley Seagull at

NEW Amazon reviews of Stanley Seagull

When It's Time to Go...
by birchleaf

Even Seagulls can have bad days. In this instance, there is Stanley Seagull. Stanley makes a friend one day. His new friend, Seymour, shows him delicious types of food in a big green truck. Seymour warns Stanley time isn't to be wasted. When it's time to go, it's time to go. Stanley must move quickly. However, Stanley doesn't move up and away from the green truck in time. In one sad day he will find himself far away from his ocean home. The story is delightful and sad too. Along the way Stanley meets another friend Walter. No new friend can make Stanley stop thinking about home. Will Stanley ever get back to his ocean home?

"Stanley wanted to get back to the beach, but how? Walter thought awhile and explained that a lot of gulls never made it back..."


Sweet Story to Read With Your Kids
by Jackie Miller

While reading this book I definitely had my children in mind. What parts would they like the most? What pictures would they want to look at just a little longer before turning to the next page? This is a sweet story with super cute illustrations.

Poor Stanley Seagull gets himself into a pickle by not listening or paying attention to what he is told. Luckily, with some help, he eventually finds his way back home. I felt so bad for Stanley getting stuck in the dirty, smelly landfill when all he really wanted was to go back to the beautiful beaches and open skies he called home.

This book presents a great opportunity to share time reading with very small kids and also to discuss some of the themes in the book with ones that are a bit older. It would be perfect to read together with your kids before bed.

And if you are wondering which picture my kids would like the most, it's probably the one where a hotdog gets snatched off the grill. :-)


A great "There's no place like home" story!
by jmalu

This well written and adorably illustrated children's book has quickly become one of my favorites! It beautifully relays themes of friendship, adventure and an appreciation of "home". It is lovely to find a book that is fun and innocent yet still carries an important message. I recently attended a baby shower that asked for a children's book in lieu of a card and I brought "Stanley Seagull". It was the hit of the party! It was the only book that was read aloud and passed around the room! I will definately be giving more copies as Christmas gifts - I think it will be every child's new favorite book!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Common Black Headed Gull

photo © Richard SternCommon Black Headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

The Black Headed Gull adults are roughly 13-17 inches (33-44cm) in length with a 35-41 inch (89-105 cm) wingspan. The summer adult has a chocolate-brown head (not black, despite the name), the body and wings are pale grey, with black tips on the primary wing feathers. The bill is red with a black tip, and the legs are also red. The “black” hood is lost in winter, leaving just a dark vertical streak or spot behind the eye. Setting the Common Black Headed Gull apart from the other “hooded” gulls is the fact that they do no actually have a black head during breeding season.

The Common Black Headed Gull is relatively new to North America, being first seen in Canada in the early 1900's. It is a small gull which breeds in much of Europe and Asia, and also in coastal eastern Canada. Most of the population is migratory, preferring to winter further south, but some birds in the milder westernmost areas of Europe do not migrate. Some birds that reside in eastern Canada will also spend the winter in the northeastern United States.

The Common Black Headed Gull reaches maturity when they are two years old, which is typical of small gulls. Breeding and nesting time frame for Common Black Headed Gulls is usually in April to May.Their nest is typically a shallow depression on the ground lined with vegetation and feathers. The female gull normally lays 2 or 3 eggs. Both parents will take turns feeding the young birds. They prefer to eat insects, small fish, small berries and earthworms. They have been known to follow fishing boats, plunge-diving for smaller fish. They also like to follow plows tilling in fields eating the earthworms and other invertebrates stirred up by this activity.

Courtesy of

Monday, August 29, 2011

California Gull

California Gull photo © Michael G. Shepherd California Gull (Larus californicus)

The California Gull adults are roughly 19-21 inches (47-54 cm) in length with a wingspan of up to 51 inches (130 cm). Their head is white with a yellow bill. The neck and under parts are also white. The gull's back and wings are dark gray. The legs and feet are a greenish-yellow color. Breeding and nesting time frame for California Gulls is usually in May to July. The nest is typically a shallow depression on the ground lined with vegetation and feathers. The female gull normally lays 2 or 3 eggs. Both parents will take turns feeding the young birds. The California Gull is a “four-year gull,” in that it takes four years for them to reach adult plumage.

The California Gull can be found on the pacific coastline from northern Mexico to British Columbia. They range far inland from New Mexico to Manitoba. They prefer to eat insects, fish and eggs, however, they are well known for scavenging at garbage dumps or docks. They have also been seen to follow farmers plowing in fields, eating the insects stirred up by this activity.

The California Gull has an interesting foraging strategy for catching alkali flies along the shores of salty lakes in the Great Basin in the western United States. It starts at one end of a huge swarm of flies sitting on the beach and runs through the flies with its head down and bill open, snapping up flies.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull photo © Ralph HockenBonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)

The Bonaparte's Gull is named after Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon, who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800s in America and Europe. This small gull has an adult body that is roughly 17 inches (45 cm) in length with a wingspan of 35-40 inches (90-100 cm). This gull has a dark gray to black head and bill, a white neck, gray body and wings, and bright orange-red legs and feet. It is one of the few gulls that prefers to nest in trees during mating season.

During the summer, the Bonaparte's gull can be found from the Great Lakes to as far north as Alaska. While inland during the summer, they feed chiefly on insects that they capture in the air, pick from croplands, or gather from the surface of lakes or ponds, Bonaparte's gulls migrate south to spend the winter on the Pacific coast where they feed on small fish, crustacea, snails and marine worms.

Bonaparte's Gulls reach maturity when they are two years old and prefer to nest in trees during mating season. Breeding and nesting time frame for Bonaparte's Gulls is usually in July to August. They nest singly or in loose colonies located on islands or lakeshores. The fir or spruce tree is the most common choice for nesting. and nests are built of small twigs, moss, lichen, grass, and generally any foliage that is easily available.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Black Legged Kittiwake

Black Legged Kittiwake photo © Jorma Tenovuo Black Legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)

Adults are roughly 16 inches (40 cm) in length with a wingspan of 35-40 inches (90-100 cm). They have a white head and body. Their backs are grey, and their grey wings are tipped solid black. They have black legs and a yellow bill. The hind toe on their foot is only a tiny bump, giving the bird its scientific name Rissa tridactyla, meaning “three-toed” (instead of four on each foot). In the winter they acquire a dark grey smudge behind their eyes and develop a grey hind-neck collar. Their name is derived from its call which sounds like a shrill 'kittee-wa-aaake, kitte-wa-aaake'.

The black-legged kittiwake prefers to eat marine invertebrates, plankton, and fish. They like to feed in flocks and catch their food at the surface of the water. They also dive just below the surface of the water to catch their prey, making them one of the few gulls that dives and swims underwater.

This gull is a coastal bird found in the north Pacific, north Atlantic, Scandinavia, and Europe. They breed in large, noisy colonies on cliffs. A typical nest is lined with moss and seaweed and will contain up to two eggs. Breeding and nesting time frame is usually in July to August. Kittiwakes are born white and develop a distinctive black “W” band across the length of their wings as they become a juvenile. As an adult, the black “W” is replaced with a solid gray color and only the tips remain black.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seagull control

Some people view seagulls as nuisance birds, as they damage crops and threaten human safety. Seagulls are known to collide with aircraft more often than any other birds. They also have a tendency to build their nests on rooftops and swoop down to snatch food while people are eating outdoors. As they tend to scavenge from dumpsters, there is a risk of transmitting diseases to humans when they roost near water reservoirs.

Seagulls are considered migratory birds and hence are protected by federal laws. Many states in the United States also have laws to protect these birds. Hence, to take seagulls away from an area, professionals require a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bird-control professionals first have to use physical barriers and mechanical techniques to frighten away the birds. When these control methods fail, the permit is issued.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seagull breeding

Seagulls lay just a single clutch of eggs once a year. The bird nests in large colonies, with each gull laying between 2 and 3 eggs. The incubation period varies from species to species and generally both parents help to incubate the eggs. Nests are made from stones, sticks and twigs and are built on the ground. The young stay close to the nest for five to six weeks after hatching, and then they are ready to learn scavenging and hunting skills from their parents.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Habitat of a seagull

Gulls, more often known as seagulls, are seen in coastal areas on cliffs, coastal towns and low-lying coastal regions. However, they are also seen inland, around dumpsters and parking lots. Gulls are comfortable living inland or along the shore, as long there is food supply in the vicinity. Seagulls are primarily scavengers, but they eat fish, shrimps, prawns, small birds and mammals, eggs, crabs, carrion, grains and edible rubbish. The birds prefer scavenging for food around dumpsters and fishing harbors rather than catching fish at sea.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Description of a seagull

These birds are large to medium in size with white or gray feathers. Depending on the species, gulls are between 11 and 30 inches in size. Many species have black markings on their heads or wings. Their bills are stout, strong and slightly hooked and their feet are webbed. Their wings are long and pointed, having a wingspan of 3 to 4 feet. They are closely related to terns and distantly to auks. Coloration of many seagulls is seasonal or may change as they mature. During the breeding season, generally adult seagulls have white heads. These include herring gulls, great black-backed gulls, western gulls and glaucous-winged gulls. However, some species, such as Bonaparte's gulls and Franklin's gulls have dark-colored hoods during the breeding season. During winter, gulls with white heads develop streaks on their head, while hooded gull species tend to have a dark spot on the head.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lifespan of a seagull

Seagulls belong to family Laridae, which also includes terns. In North America, there are 23 species of gulls. Lifespan of seagulls varies, depending on the species. Some species, such as herring gulls, have a lifespan of 30 or more years, while others, such as ring-billed gulls, live for 10 to 15 years.

The lifespan of seagull is affected by several factors, such availability of food and protection from predators as well as extreme weathers. Hence, it is but natural that seagulls living in captivity, such as in zoos, have longer lifespans compared to those living in the wild. But if young gulls in the wild survive the rigors of their first year, their chances of survival increase significantly and keep increasing with each passing year.

There is recorded evidence to show that a herring gull named Gull Dick visited the same neighborhood for 24 years. He used to visit Brenton's Reef lightship at Narragansett Bay every from from Oct. 12 to April 7 and during this visit the crew fed the bird boiled pork and fish.

Similarly, there are records of many gulls living longer than other members of their species.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to prevent seagulls from eating your garbage

In coastal towns, seagulls make pigeons appear very small and innocuous. Gulls are large, determined birds and remarkably good at ripping open garbage bags to get food. This, of course, looks extremely messy. It is also unhygienic. Household garbage scattered all over the place attracts insects and rodents. To stop seagulls creating miniature landfill sites next to your home, make it impossible for them to access the bags in the first place.


1. Store garbage in a shed or garage in sealed bags until collection day, if possible.

2. Purchase gull-proof bags. There are different versions, one of which is a large mesh bag in which you place up to three normal trash bags. Such bags are straightforward for refuse collectors and householders to open, but inaccessible to gulls.

3. Place heavy rocks on the lids of trash cans or secure the lids down with rope. Wrap the rope underneath and over the can once or twice and tie firmly. Other scavenging animals, such as foxes or raccoons, often get into unprotected cans, leaving them wide open for seagulls to make even more of a mess.

4. Replace old cans with animal-proof ones. These are often sold as "raccoon-proof" or "fox-proof" trash cans and they keep virtually all scavenging wildlife out, including gulls.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

How to feed a seagull

Whether you live near a large body of water or are vacationing near one, it can be fun to feed seagulls. Sometimes, you can even throw food into the air and watch the seagulls retrieve it. Other times, you can place the food on the ground and watch the gulls land to eat it.


1. First, find a place where there seagulls gather. This can be an area on a beach or somewhere near the ocean. Just look around for gulls and get as near to them as possible.

2. Take the loaf or slice of bread and tear it into small pieces about the size of a quarter.

3. If the seagull you want to feed is on the ground, toss a piece of bread on the ground between you and gull. Stand still so that the gull will walk up and retrieve the bread and not be scared away by sudden movements. If the gull you want to feed is flying, hold the bread into the air in order to get the bird's attention. Often, the seagull will fly down toward your hand. When it does this, toss the bread into the air near the gull so it can grab it.

Tips & Warnings

If you are having trouble locating seagulls, look in places where food is available such as near beach side restaurants or garbage bins.

Make sure to use slow, steady movements when nearing a seagull. Gulls are often scared away by sudden or jerky movements.

Feed the sea gull bits of bread or french fries, but don't give one seagull too much food.

Do not try to feed a sea gull anything that could harm it such as a sharp object or something toxic. Only feed seagulls bits or bread, french fries or similar foods.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

What do seagulls do for food?

Seagulls are omnivorous, meaning that they have a wide and varied diet, including both meat and vegetables. There are several different types of gull, all falling under the umbrella term of "seagull." While the birds differ in appearance, their diets are very similar.


Seagulls are a common sight in many coastal areas, as well as landfill sites and around restaurants and fast-food outlets. They commonly scavenge food debris from human garbage and discarded food items. It should be noted that food discarded by humans is not the gull's natural food source, but many gulls become accustomed to this practice and grow lazy, not bothering to hunt.

Marine Life

Gulls eat small fish, plankton, shrimp and other shellfish and marine invertebrates. Most gulls catch their prey near the surface of the water. Gulls are frequently seen following fishing vessels and catching the small fish thrown from the boat.

Terrestrial Food Sources

Most gull species enjoy a wide and varied diet from dry land. The birds eat insects, worms, invertebrates, small mammals, eggs and berries. Seagulls commonly flock around plowed fields, feasting on the insects and grubs brought to the surface by the plow.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are seagulls intelligent?

Intelligence is difficult to measure in animals since humans cannot communicate with them. However, scientists shed some light on intelligence by observing animals. Gulls are thought to be intelligent birds. Two particular observations of intelligence are their strategy development and problem solving skills. Gulls use strategy to figure out ways to steal food from other animals. They also have found an interesting way of eating hard-shelled fish. To gain access to the meat inside the hard shelled surface, gulls fly up in the air and drop the hard-shelled fish. They repeat this process over and over until the shell is broken.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Did you know seagulls can drink fresh & salt water?

Gulls are capable of drinking both salt water and fresh water. The reason gulls can drink salt water is due to glands they have called "salt glands." These salt glands remove the salt content from the water. The gulls then eliminate the salt through their nostrils.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

October 1, 2011
Pages & Places Book Festival

Courthouse Square
Scranton, PA 18503
click for more info


120 W. Market St.
Scranton, PA 18508
(570) 961-9681

What makes up a seagull's diet?

Gulls eat fish, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, worms, eggs and rodents and they scavenge food from humans. In fact, gulls are experts at it and easily become accustomed to getting easy meals. Easy meals are food items obtained from trash cans and other discarded human food. It is not uncommon to see gulls at the beach or in urban areas stealing food from trash cans or picnic sites. Sometimes gulls steal food from each other or other species of birds.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Seagull habitats

Many gulls live near the ocean, which is why people commonly refer to them as sea gulls. But despite the common name, some gulls live inland. Gulls are opportunistic feeders and have adapted to urban environments. It is not uncommon to find gulls in non-coastal urban areas scrounging for food. Some residents in urban classify gulls as pests. Gulls live in colonies (groups of gulls). The colonies usually sleep together in areas where they will not be disturbed by humans.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Types of seagulls

The name sea gull, or seagull, is not the exact name for any one type of bird. Sea gull is a broad term that people use to describe any one of 43 species of gull birds. The scientific classification for gulls is: Order - Charadriiformes, Family - Laridae, Subfamily - Larinae, Genus - Larus (Gulls). Three types of gulls of the 43 gull species are the California Gull, Herring Gull and the Kelp Gull.

While there are many different types of gulls, each having their own distinct characteristics, all gulls share certain traits. Gulls have webbed feet and long bills and wings. Size and colors vary among different types of gulls.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

About seagulls

There are over 40 different types of birds that are commonly referred to as sea gulls. Many people do not even realize that there is more than one type of sea gull. Sea gulls are a common site in coastal areas, but they are increasingly growing in numbers in inland areas as well. Gulls are far from shy, often coming close to humans and even harassing humans for food. Despite the fact that so many people have had opportunities for close access to sea gulls, few people know much about them.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why do seagulls live at landfills?

They are a common sight at the beach, marina or ferry, but you can also spot them in inland shopping centers, parks and landfills. They are seagulls, and wherever you can find food they like to eat, you can find them, too. Niki Price, writing for Oregon Coast Today, calls seagulls "gregarious, opportunistic and omnivorous to the core." Whether you find them amusing or annoying, seagulls are very well-adapted to live alongside humans.

How can an animal so closely associated with the sea, as its nickname suggests, live inland? Ornithologist Wayne Hoffman told Price that gulls are "generalists that can eat all sorts of things: garbage, bugs, fish, sea stars and the young and eggs of other sea birds." They once followed commercial fishing boats and lived exclusively near the coasts, but the redirection of commercial fish wastes pushed large numbers of them to expand their habitat, explains the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The ease with which seagulls have learned to thrive in the human world makes them excellent examples of natural principles of ecological adaptation. Having traditionally nested on cliffs, they can easily nest on buildings, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of birds. They live at landfills in huge numbers, but they are perfectly willing to snatch scraps from streets and picnics.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What do seagulls really eat?

Seagulls, those sometimes-pesky birds that are typically found around shore and beach areas, have to eat, just like most species, in order to survive. Seagulls have existed for a long time, and many scientists and animal experts have studied their behavior and existence in order to better understand them. One of the crucial areas of study has been the seagull’s diet. You may be interested to know what seagulls eat, and you will find an answer to your curious question below!

Sea Plants and Creatures

Because seagulls live near beach and shore areas, their main source of food comes from the ocean or body of water that they live near. Seagulls have large beaks that allow them to scoop up whatever food they can find, and they can spot food items as they fly overhead. From the sea, seagulls will eat small fish or shellfish. They will also pick up pieces of seaweed if other food is not available to them.


As disgusting as it may sound to us humans, seagulls have no problem eating trash. The food or scraps that are thrown away will sometimes become a seagull’s meal. They typically go for food scraps, but will go for any type of organic matter that can be found in the trash and picked up in their beaks.

Food from Humans

Seagulls are notorious for being pesky because they have to problem scooping down from the sky and grabbing food right out of a human’s hand. Especially at the shore and beach areas, seagulls have no problem go after boardwalk treats such as french fries and funnel cake. Some humans like to help the seagulls out, and will break up pieces of bread to leave behind for the seagulls. It is always good to be vigilante, especially on a beach, while eating food for you never know when a seagull will decide it’s time for dinner!


Monday, August 1, 2011

When were you extremely happy to come home?

He knew he was home at last. Stanley was a happy gull once again!

When were you extremely happy to come home?

Tell Stanley. He'd love to read your thoughts.
Please leave a comment below.