When my wife read my post “Black Skimmers Feeding” she asked, “Where is the photo of resting Skimmers?”
To answer her question I looked through Cocoa Beach photographs and discovered I did NOT capture the Skimmers resting. Instead, here are a related species, the Royal Tern (scientific name: Thalasseus maximus), whose behavior is similar in that it exclusively feeds from the water. There was a wind that morning and these individuals face into it. These birds are, from a human point of view, well behaved, unlike the opportunistic gull.
I searched around the web for identification of this gull without success.
It dines on a dead fish washed up by the surf. In my previous posting I used the word “grifting” to describe gull behavior, again this is from the human point of view. Gulls are notorious for stealing food from unwary beach goers, brazening walking over to unguarded chips (any kind), for instance, grabbing them and flying off. If the chip stash is large, this sets off a nasty feeding frenzy when tens of gulls swoop in and grab.
Here is a series of photographs, demonstrating this behavior.
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The dawn flowed over Cocoa Beach as a lady attracted a crowd of hungry gulls, reminiscent of scenes from Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
She is obviously an experienced gull feeder, unflappable with a steady hand.
She had come to the shore at dawn for a photo shoot. Her male companion (husband?) was there with a camera.
At first, I stood there amazed at the spectacle. She was in such control of the situation, not a victim, more like a lion tamer.
Then, Pam said, “You have to get this.” And I did.
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