Baby Herring Gulls

After returning from Doug & Ev's wedding in the states, Gabi found a baby Herring Gull wondering around the street in front of our house. It didn't know where to go so it would just lie down in the middle of our street. It was very tired and its dad was frenzied and kept dive-bombing anyone that dared walk by. When lying in the street the baby was perfectly camouflaged and Gabi was so worried that a car would run over it that she lured it into our tiny front garden with bits of ham. The adult was a little unsure but eventually realized we weren't going to hurt the baby. After a little ham and determination on Mike's part, the adult finally let us come and go as we pleased - however, the mailman was a different story. Two days later there was another baby on the ground (we soon realized they came from the same nest - a top the chimney across the street) so we had to do some swift maneuvering in order to get the new baby into the garden without the other one escaping or the adult pecking holes in our heads! As it turns out, Herring Gulls typically have three babies and unbeknownst to us the third one stayed in the nest until it could fly. The female fed and kept watch over it while the male stood guard over the two in our garden. It was amazing watching them care for the babies. One night we were awakened by a horrible screeching. Gabi jumped out bed and ran to the window only to see a cat escaping over the fence. By the time she got down stairs to the front door the male Gull had the cat trapped under a car. Thankfully, the babies were unharmed. I doubt that cat ever came near our garden again!

The baby gulls lived in our garden for about six weeks but flew out while we were on vacation. However, they didn't go far. They stayed in the alley behind the row of houses opposite us for another week. They could fly but were still working on control and weren't quite ready to leave. Interestingly, it seemed the female was the aggressor in making them leave. She would almost attack them so they would fly away. They would go, but would usually return within the hour. Sometimes they came back to our garden and played in the water or they just came back to the street. No one's car was safe for a couple of weeks if you know what I mean! I can't properly explain what a wonderful experience is was to watch these Gulls take care of their young - the animal world is truly amazing.

The first one:

Now there's two:

Dad checking on them while mom lands on the far column:

We're hungry:

Dad regurgitating his catch from the North Sea:

Umm...Cod!:

Sharing some water:

I demand more fish!:

Resting in the water:

Aren't I cute:

Learning to use those wings:

Dad playing in the water:

Mom (on the car) and dad standing guard:

Stretching my wings:

Growing up and looking a bit lanky:

Looking quite regal:

I can do it too:

Stretching my wing while resting it on one of my legs:

Playing in the water:

Now there are three!:

All grown up:

Lying in the street again but this time I'm able to fly. I'm just not quite ready to leave the nest:

Told you I could fly!:

Bye, I'm off to explore the world...:

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