The dangers of junk food

Wing-tagged Ring-billed Gull (photo by Chuck Tague)If you read Chuck Tague’s Nature Observer journal you’ve seen this picture recently.  It’s a ring-billed gull with a fluorescent orange wing tag acquired as part of a gull study in Chicago.  When Chuck snapped this picture, the gull was at Flagler Beach, Florida. 

Before I saw Chuck’s photo I hadn’t thought much about wing-tags but suddenly there’s a spate of reports on PABIRDS of tagged gulls in eastern Pennsylvania.  One gull was found in Berks County, the other 50 miles away in Bucks County.  Both were tagged for a Massachusetts reservoir study.

So how do people catch gulls?  The details made me laugh. 

One gull was captured at a Walmart parking lot in Northborough, Massachusetts using a rocket net baited with Cheez-Its.   The other was captured in Worcester, Mass using a rocket net baited with bread and popcorn.  

Junk food is their weakness. 

I wonder what tempted this guy.  Fritos?

(photo by Chuck Tague)

5 thoughts on “The dangers of junk food

  1. I am so glad you posted this. A month ago I was feeding the gulls and saw one that appeared to have orange stickers on his wings. At first I thought they were those bread stickers you see on loaves of bread that say $1.50 or something like that, but upon further inspection, I saw that the bird was banded.

    I tried doing a google search to see if I could figure out who tagged him, but was not successful. I live right near Northborough, so I am wondering if these are the same birds.

  2. I assume you’ve heard about the gull in Scotland who has been stealing chips daily from a local convenience store? If not, do a search on YouTube or the BBC site and you’ll find the cheeky birdie in action.

  3. Apparently the gulls at Walt Disney World have such a sweet tooth that they aren’t above swiping food right out of peoples hands . . or at least this one gull with an apparent taste for cinnamon. I forget which of my 2 trips to Disney World this happened (either December, ’94 or June ’99) but I was at one of the parks with my mom and sister and my mom had purchased a churro. I decided I wanted to try it and took a bite then turned my back to look at something when I saw the shadow of a bird pass low overhead. When I turned back to my mom, she was no longer holding the churro as a gull had swooped down and taken it right out of her hand.

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