Much squawking of gulls this morning. Adult black-backed gulls were perched on high lamp standards anxiously watching a juvenile who was on the ground and complaining.
Perhaps this was her first flight? I was concerned she might stray onto the road, but eventually she fluttered across the field. When I looked later they’d all gone, so presumably she flapped her wings and flew away.
Te Ara, The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand tells me: “Māori trained black-backed gulls to eat the caterpillars that infested kūmara (sweet potatoes). Some birds became tame enough to follow people around, while others had their wings clipped to stop them flying away.” They’re also known to attack smaller birds, and even newborn lambs. I’m not sure I’d fancy one as a pet, but it’s good to know they can be useful.
“These greedy gulls with raucous sound
I’d rather not have round my ground.”