I love to learn new things. And this past weekend, I learned some interesting facts about gulls and what they eat.
I knew gulls eat fish and will steal fish from other birds, like ducks. I knew they eat garbage, carrion, popcorn, bread, etc... But what I didn't know was that some of the bigger ones will eat large birds and even rabbits! Yes, it is true.
What I learned was a larger gull, the Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus, will take even bigger prey. From Wikipedia I found the following quote "They generally target chicks since they are easily found, handled, and swallowed. They can swallow puffins, terns or small ducks whole."
After reading this, I thought, surely not. I was very skeptical. But then I followed one of the links showing a Great Black-backed Gull devour a tern whole. Nope, didn't pull it apart. It couldn't, it was on the water. The article from the Manchester Bird Watching Examiner is here and has a slide show to go along with the article. Amazing!
The powerful beak of the Great Black-backed Gull
Digging a little more, I found this. The following link will show a Great Black-backed Gull kill and start eating an American Coot. The American Coot may look small in the photos compared to the gull, but they weigh a little over a pound and are 16 inches in length. This is not a tiny bird by any means.
And finally I found a photo from Flickr by Recycled Teenager of a Great Black-backed Gull munching on a bunny. I had no idea they would take that large of prey.
So I learned something new about gulls! Hope you did, too!
Photos from Wikipedia and by Recycled Teenager on Flickr.