Friday, August 2, 2013

A Few ANTICS of LONG ISLAND SEAGULLS


I have been away from Blogger to focus on my sister's annual visit, and now I'm focusing on a behavior of the mourning doves that visit my garden, a behavior in which they alight on one of my bird feeders in such a manner (as indicated in the image posted above) that it causes seeds to fall to the ground, "inviting" mice and pigeons into my garden, a problem I am continuing to have, and a problem that I will now be aggressive about finding a solution to resolve it now that my sister has left.

Prior to her arrival, I did procure a mini vacuum cleaner (the hand-held variety) to collect the fallen seeds, which will help to some extent, but some of the creatures that are ground feeders are ones that I want to have around, such as Cam and Mac, my visiting cardinal couple, seen in the image below.



My cardinal couple does not like to perch on any of the feeders that I have, so I am thinking of installing a pole system to secure my feeders, which may encourage Cam — as well as Mac — to perch on feeders that will have trays to collect falling seeds. By eliminating falling seeds I hope to deter the pigeons and mice who now visit far too often!

Meanwhile it is the behaviors and antics of the array of wild birds which visit my garden, that caused me to observe the seagulls I saw at two different beaches on the Atlantic Ocean (during my sister's visit) from another perspective than I had when I'd seen them in bygone years. 
For example, I have always noted that seagulls have a tendency to stand on one leg as seen in the images below taken (respectively) at Long Beach New York and Robert Moses State Park Beach in New York.


LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013

LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013 
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH NEW YORK 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
(Featured on TLLG's FB Page)
The latter of this series of images was featured on TLLG's FB Page where I pointed out that seagulls are not standing on one leg because they need to use a bathroom, rather, they are standing on one leg because, "bird's legs have a unique system of blood veins in their legs called 'rete mirabile' (pronounced ree-tee mee-rah-bi-lay) that minimizes heat loss. Here is how it works: The arteries that transport the warm blood from the heart into the legs lie in direct contact with the veins that return colder blood back to the bird's heart. The warm blood in the arteries therefore warms the cooler blood in the veins. By standing on one leg, and pulling the other leg up against the warmth of its body, a bird can reduce by up to half, the amount of heat lost through its legs. In short, they stand on one leg to warm up a little bit." (Reference for this information may be found by clicking here.)

Another behavior I noticed about seagulls in bygone years is not only do they have a tendency to stand on one leg, but they also have a tendency to fly low as seen in the images below taken (respectively) at Long Beach New York and Robert Moses State Park Beach in New York.
LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
(FEATURED on  TLLG's FB PAGE)
The latter of this series of images was featured on TLLG's FB Page where I pointed out that on occasion seagulls fly low because "there is in aerodynamics, a phenomenon called 'Ground Effect.' (The effect of added aerodynamic buoyancy produced by a cushion of air below a vehicle moving close to the ground.) It is where the air under a wing is being squeezed between the wing and the ground. The height of the ground effect depends on the size of the wing. So seagulls glide close to the surface because it is easier to glide there. Pelicans use ground effect, as do other sea birds."

Yet another behavior I noticed about seagulls in bygone years (but paid more attention to it this time), is not only do they have a tendency to stand on one leg and a tendency to fly low, but they often stand facing the same direction (when they are on the ground) as their comrades!

This is indicated in the images below taken (respectively) at Long Beach New York and Robert Moses State Park Beach in New York.


LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
(Featured on TLLG's FB Page)
LONG BEACH NEW YORK 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013 
ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
I have recently learned that the reason seagulls face the same direction either when in hordes or with a "partner" is that seagulls feel safer when they are not alone while they are on the ground. "That is why you usually see them standing or sitting in a group (or with another gull)."

There is much more to say about seagulls but I'll leave it here for now and encourage you (if you have the interest) to visit an informative web-site by clicking here which is where I found all the information that you see in italics within this entry.

And perhaps you'll now have a different perspective the next time you see them on the beach for you'll know why they are standing on one leg while waiting for a drink of water (as seen below).

BOTH IMAGES ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013
(LATTER IMAGE FEATURED ON TLLG's FB PAGE)
But keep in mind, seagulls do not only drink from standing water sources or "faucets" as I stated on TLLG's FB Page, this type of bird is one that can tolerate drinking salt water."The reason they are able to do this is seagulls have a special pair of glands right above their eyes, that are specifically designed to flush the salt from their systems through openings in the bill. This enables the gull to spend days out at sea without needing to come back to shore just to get a drink of fresh water."

I am not sure whether you see seagulls standing on one leg, flying low,hanging out with a comrade, or drinking water; I can almost guarantee you can always find — at least — one of this bird variety near a refreshment stand!


ROBERT MOSES STATE PARK BEACH 2013


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