a gull eats a balloon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Have you ever been asked the question "will a gull eat a balloon?".  No, nor me.  Now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can answer that question.  Read on.

Initially I thought it intersting that a gull had found a balloon on the foreshore (and ironically only a few days after Thames21 had done a big clean up in the area) and thought that it might be investigating this new thing in it's life.

But it decided that it needed a wash, becuase it probably mistook it for a lugworm or something similar.

At this point I thought that it had realised it's folly and was going to leave it alone.   Sensibly.

But it picked it up again, and with a flick of it's head it had it in the correct place for an efficient swallow...

It was at this point that I realised that the bird was actually going to eat the bloody thing.  By waving my hands in the area and swearing loudly at the gull, I thought that it might be persuaded to take flight and drop it.  But with what it thought was a lugworm that big though, it wasn't going to budge.  With hindsight, I should have known that it may well of flown off, but it wouldn't have dropped it as that isn't what gulls tend to do.

It swallowed it. 

Completely.  Bloody thing.

It then proceeded to have a little drink and carried on feeding in the river.

Then it had a preen.

And then it had a kip.

Unless it regurgitates it (which I have seen in gulls before) it's shortly going to be a very, very,  dead gull indeed.  I know it's only a gull, and not an uncommon one and that I am not one for shying away from nature when it is at it's most raw and unforgiving.  If this gull was killed by a Peregrine I would have loved it.  But this is at the other end of the scale, the shitty end of urban birding.


Nathalie said...

That is utterly horrible :(
I was at that Thames21 cleanup and I actually did pick some balloon remains then... but obviously not enough, plus there is a seemingly constant supply. They're talking about doing the other side of the bridge which is much harder to access but is much definitely worth doing, and will need more than one visit.

On a more positive note, I heard and saw some of your sparrowhawks that day, brightened up the cleanup :)

D. Sanchez said...

"a gull eats a balloon"

a douchebag documents it

here's a novel idea: when the bird drops the balloon, scare the bird away and go pick up the balloon!?

Stevie Evans said...

Wots a douchebag ?

a reckon its gotta be a German handbag ?

No posts on D.Sanchez's blog - must be too busy wadin' through the clarts at low water savin' seagulls ;-)

Thing said...

Mr Sanchez obviously is not familiar with the river Thames at low tide, or the height of the walls that hold it in, nor did he read the writing in the post properly. Ho hum.

Susannah Anderson said...

That's awful!

I carry a bag with me when I walk on the beach. I can't pick up all the garbage I see, but I try to get the plastic bags abandoned there. Why people would eat their snacks and then just toss them onto the sand, I can't understand. There are always garbage cans, sometimes only a few steps away.

Then I find dead seagulls; last week it was a young dead crow, with not a scratch on it. It had died from internal causes, likely someone's sandwich bag.

It makes me very angry, but what can be done about it? People just don't care, not even about the looks of the beach they come to play on, even less about the birds and animals they share it with.

Jan Axel & Gloriela said...

So sad... here in Panama, our coast at the city is very polluted. I wonder how many birds have died because of this

Katie d' beekeeper said...

Thank you for posting these photos of a gull eating a balloon. I work for a group that does litter prevention education. May we use your photos for educational purposes? If so, whom do we credit? Thanks!

Our web site:
my email:
--Katie Register

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