Feeding gulls is for the birds

Western gull catching some wind

During President’s Day weekend, I decided it was time to head to El Matador Beach. It’s one of my favorite beaches near Los Angeles to just sit and stare at the waves crashing against really cool rock formations. Also, since it’s 10 miles north of Malibu, El Matador is much less busy than Venice or Santa Monica.

So there I’m sitting enjoying the sun, cool breeze, and fabulous view, when all of a sudden a flock of gulls starts making a racket. I heard them before I saw them and knew that only one thing makes gulls go that crazy: food.

Sure enough, a woman walks around the bend with a plastic bag in her hand with gulls following and screeching away as if she was denying them their last supper. Then she walked over, to what appeared to be a regular stopping point, and proceeded to throw bread crumbs.

Here’s the question: Do we need to feed sea gulls? The answer is: No, because we already are.

When I first moved to Los Angeles, one of my first destinations was the beach. As I was sitting there on the sand, taking it all in, I watched as a man sitting in front of me ran off to catch something that had flown off with the wind. During the few seconds he left his towel, I watched a gull quickly walk over, stick its head into a partially open cooler, take out a sandwich in a plastic bag, remove the sandwich from the plastic bag and eat it. This happened faster than you can say, “Hey, get out…”

Not only do gulls score food from beach picnics, but they also dig through beach trash cans, dumpster dive several miles inland and snatch bait off fishing boats. They even steal food right out of a pelican’s mouth, a fellow bird for crying out loud!

Since gulls are more than capable of finding food, there’s really no need to bother feeding them. And based on the size of some of the gulls I saw, the last thing they needed was bread crumbs, instead they should have been flocking to Weight Watchers.

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