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Hello Thomas and Florida Birders,

If you spend time watching mud flats where Great Black-backed Gulls hang out, it is not too unusual to see them kill and eat nearby birds. I have personally seen them grab, kill and eat Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, and Clapper Rail. They are nasty buggers and it is always a visceral experience to watch them kill their victims! It is little wonder that the Ring-billed Gulls, and even the Herring Gulls to some extant, segregate themselves on mud-flats.

Hugh McGuinness
Sag Harbor, NY

________________________________

From: Florida Birds on behalf of Thomas J. Dunkerton
Sent: Sat 2/19/2005 8:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [FLBIRDS] Great Black-backed -vs- Ring-billed Gull-MINWR



Hey Everybirdy,

  Interesting scene today.  Was out behind Pumphouse Rd today.  As I got to
the beginning of the second impndmt. on the left, I spotted an imm. Great
Black-backed Gull yanking on the wing of a Ring-billed Gull.  The RBGU was crouched
in the water in a submissive posture squawking all the while.  After a few
more pecks and tugs, the GBBG took a few steps away and began preening itself.
The RBGU got to it's feet and seemed to shake off the harrassment.  The GBBG
grabbed the wing once more and the RBGU resumed submissive pose.  GBBG resumed
preening.  I waited a bit more and it seemed to be over.  The crowd of other
Gulls and Skimmers seemed unphased, resting about 100 ft. away.
  I continued on, scanning the Ruddy Ducks, Herring Gulls (2),  Lesser Scaup,
Red Knots, Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin and SB Dowitchers all the way to the
end of the dike road.
  When I returned to the scene of the earlier "incident", all that remained
was one dead Ring-billed Gull.
  I have witnessed GBBG's bullying other birds from time to time.  While I
did not witness the final blows, I feel safe assuming what transpired.  I
obviously have no way of knowing if the RBGU was injured or ill prior to the attack
so it remains a mystery as to whether it was a mercy kill ( if there ever was
such a thing) or the GBBG was just in a bad mood.

  See you out there.

Thomas J. Dunkerton
Titusville, FL.
[log in to unmask]
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
-Charles Darwin, naturalist and author (1809-1882)

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