The Ungullible Gull

Tip & Skip Gulls (from

Skip gulls and tip gulls . . .

that’s what my daughter calls them. But she lives in the more densely-populated industrial Midlands so it’s not surprising her gulls have adopted more modern behaviour. I live on the coast where the gulls have retained their ancestral patterns. They have, after all, the entire North Sea as their feeding grounds—not that it stops them from gathering like groups of unruly youths around the marketplace, ever the opportunist, harvesting whatever tidbits are dropped.

This morning, returning from shopping, I noticed one lad, in beige-and-white plumage, had separated out from the group. He had wandered away from the market and arrived at a busy road junction. I could see him up ahead by the pedestrian crossing, making little forays like a nervous pensioner. What was he after that the traffic kept frightening him from? Whatever it was he seemed determined to have.

I’d almost drawn level, across the road from him, when there was a break in the traffic. No vehicles visible in any direction (must be a Sunday). Now was his chance. He strutted, no looking left or right. He reached his prize. He took a peck.

I swear his behaviour became totally human. The way he pulled back his head—I half-expected him to spit it out. The twist he gave, as in total disgust. The up-jilted beak, the pulled-back shoulders, the arrogant strut back to the pavement. Whatever he’d pecked, he clearly didn’t rate it.

What was it? While there was lull in the traffic, I ventured a look.

A beefburger, in its raw state, still half-covered by its brand-flashed package. But it wasn’t a brand I recognised (though I don’t eat burgers). It looked like something I’d have bought in my student days: an unknown brand sold dirt-cheap in a cheapo shop.

Someone had dropped it. A car had caught it and ripped its package. But, despite the gull had been tempted (probably by the package), just one taste of it and it had shown its opinion. Not exactly an enticing advert, knowing that gulls aren’t so fussy as to refuse free food (after all, in the Midlands they dine off skips and tips).

And my thought as I made my way home? Someone in town had been intending to eat that. It’s enough to make you turn vegetarian.

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
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4 Responses to The Ungullible Gull

  1. Brian Bixby says:

    Oh, dear, a burger even a gull won’t eat. 😦 😉

    Here, though we are more or less on the coast, I see fewer gulls than I used to in my 35-mile-inland home town. (The gulls followed a very polluted river upstream . . . which again says something about that burger!) Here, it’s pigeons, helped by a neighbor at the end of the street who feeds them and the squirrels, too. Most of us consider both a nuisance. At least the pigeons are at risk from the local cats. I’ve seen our neighbor’s large orange and white tom bring down at least two birds in our yard.


    • crimsonprose says:

      Oh, we get pigeons too. They, like the gulls, frequent the market place. The shops there now have ‘invisible’ netting to protect their above-street-level frontage. That at least is humane. I have seen some places with savage looking spikes, or worse, jabbing out of every perchable surface. At least the squirrels keep to the cemetery . . . where darling considerate little old ladies spend their pensions on peanuts to feed them. Vicious little rats. My friend was attacked when she refused to respond to one begging. It ran up her body and bit her check. Luckily she was on the way to see her GP. She had to have stitches, and some kind of protective injection. Cute? Vermin. Give me a gull any day. (Remind me I said that when I moan about them nesting on the roof and laying claim to the courtyard again this next summer!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        I’ve had a squirrel go for my face, too, though by accident. It was trying to avoid me by jumping from a fence to a tree. Unfortunately, I was in between the fence and the tree. Squirrel lands on me. Squirrel panics and starts slicing up my face. I panic, and try to remove squirrel by ineffectively shaking my head. Squirrel jumps again, and makes it to the tree.

        They may be an evolutionary success story, but squirrels are stupid. Of course, the same thing can be said about people, too.


      • crimsonprose says:

        Strangely, our species share much in common. The use of the hands. The kinda-like upright position. The penchant for rapid colonisation. The way both have figured it, that looking cute fills the belly. The way we both like feasting on nuts. I was going to say ‘playing’ but that might only apply to the male of the species. The way we both have members called Cyril. (Okay, so this is going to get silly, and a weeny bit adult if I take it much further.) Yea, both are kinda successful species, and both are known to destroy their environment.

        Liked by 1 person

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