Considering how the Hooded Maganser I described Wednesday was able to elude the much larger seagull and save his fish, I was a little surprised the next day when I saw this seagull steal a much larger cormorant’s catch.
Instead of trying to intimidate the cormorant, though, this seagull snuck up and stole the fish away. Here the seagull slowly floats toward the cormorant who was obviously preoccupied with swallowing its catch.
It’s not clear whether the cormorant put up little resistance to the gull because it simply couldn’t match the gull’s speed,
or because cormorants swallow their catch whole, and it was proving nearly impossible to swallow a wide, flat fish like this sole.
Perhaps the cormorant was simply intimidated by the gull’s audacity. I was rather surprised when a number of gulls flew over but none landed nearby to challenge him for the fish. He slowly sat there, picking the fish apart piece by piece while others flew overhead loudly squawking.
I’ll have to admit that growing up around the beach I’ve always seen the gull as little more than a scavenger feeding on human garbage left by careless picnickers or stolen from garbage cans.
Watching them lately, though, I find them much more innovative than I ever imagined. Sometimes I wonder if they’re not just as intelligent as the crows I love to watch.