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A December Feast in the Finger Lakes

Seagulls are a very common sight in the Finger Lakes. And for those of you who live here in the Finger Lakes region of New York, the sight of thousands of gulls scavenging in the fields behind a farmer’s tractor which is either working the land or hauling out manure from the barn is something that we see all the time. Just a week ago, I was able to take some close-up pictures of the gulls feasting on the worms that were turned up as a farmer chisel plowed a field near Canandaigua.

When we first moved to the Finger Lakes some twelve years ago, I wondered why there were so many seagulls around. Perhaps it was because we lived near Lake Ontario, I thought? We were walking in Kershaw Park one day, and Jeanette saw a gull sitting on the light pole and being the animal lover that she is, she went to the car to get a piece of bread. I said, “don’t you see that sign? It says, Don’t Feed the Gulls!” “But that poor little birdie looks so hungry”, as she tossed out a few pieces of bread.  Within 30 seconds, the sky was filled with birds just like in the Albert Hitchcock movie with the same name. She cried, “Let’s gets out of here!”

The name seagull is sort of a misnomer as these birds don’t need the sea to thrive at all. They are very clever in figuring out where to get their next meal and where the best nesting opportunities are located. And here in the Finger Lakes, all of their needs are satisfied all year around. Gulls are a protected migratory bird and to kill them or to try to remove them is in violation of the federal law.

So, the next time that you see a seagull, just remember that they are a pesky winged scavenger. And be very careful who you invite to dinner as they have no shame in inviting all of their relatives too!

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