While many people have come to despise gulls and dread the chance of being painted by their airborne feces, some may be surprised by a gull’s softer side – that is, when the bird is young, plump, fluffy and grounded.
Gulls are more commonly admitted to the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) than any other type of animal, according to senior wildlife rehabilitator Wallis Moore Reid.
Roughly 150 gulls were admitted to Wild ARC last year, about 60 of which were chicks, and around six per cent of animals brought to Wild ARC annually are gulls.
Moore Reid said chicks require about three months of nurture before they are able to live independently, with high quality fish being especially important to their diet. They also need specialized perches in order to keep their webbed feet healthy.
Gulls have considerably high cognition, being put through foraging exercises as chicks. Generally speaking, they also tend to have longer lifespans than other local bird types, requiring four years to reach sexual maturity.
The next time you find yourself a few floors above ground, consider keeping an eye out for gull chicks living on nearby rooftops. They may not be the most attractive birds, but one could argue they are much more appealing to watch – still unable to fly and sporting a pleasant feathery plumage – than their rambunctious adult counterparts.
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