Sep 09 2011

Unexpected Flying Objects

Published by at 7:30 am under Bird Behavior

Last Saturday we encountered some unexpected flying objects at Acadia.

The first was a one-man helicopter the size of a Volkswagen beetle.  It appeared over the mountain just above the trees and quickly and quietly maneuvered into the valley behind the Asticou Inn where it landed in a tiny clearing the size of a parking space.

By the time we got there it was tethered like a horse, its rotor tied to the front with a long strap.  We had never seen such a small quiet helicopter but we obviously don't travel in the right circles. 

That was the well-behaved flying object. The second was another story.

It happened while my husband and I sat on the shoreline boulders, watching the waves and eating lunch.  There was a Labor Day crowd on the Shore Path and some were feeding the gulls.  We were not, but the local gulls knew that handouts were a possibility.

I was holding my sandwich up, ready to take a bite, when I saw a herring gull about to land on me.  His pink legs and large wings filled my view.  He was nearly on top of my sandwich when I shouted and ducked.  The gull flew over me... and hit my husband on the head!  My husband nearly dropped his sandwich but the gull could not snatch it. 

Foiled in his attempt at our food the gull flew over the water and stole a crab from an unsuspecting eider.  How dare he!  It actually made me mad.

Herring gulls apparently do this the world over.  This photo is from Belgium.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the photo to see the original.)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Unexpected Flying Objects”

  1. Joshon 09 Sep 2011 at 10:17 am

    Poor eider 🙁

  2. Kristenon 09 Sep 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Oh they can be bad! I used to spend a lot of time travelling I-90 through PA and NY. I would regularly stop at one of the rest stops in NY that was populated by gulls. My general plan at rest stops is to eat something while I stroll around. I quickly learned that I really needed to eat first, INSIDE my car and then go out for a walk, or I’d be harrassed by the gulls! None of them ever got brave enough to try to steal something from me, but they’d hover right by me, about head height and 3-4 feet away.

  3. Jon 12 Sep 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Heh. Do Herring gulls live in Orlando? Maybe that was the species that stole my moms churro right out of her hand during a visit to Disney World.

  4. Kate St. Johnon 12 Sep 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Yes, both herring and ring-billed gulls spend the winter in Orlando, Florida (among other places). Amazing that they are stealing food at Disney!

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