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.


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