Evidence that gulls eat anything

Photo credit: Minette Layne

Not that long ago, I wrote a post called “Feeding gulls is for the birds,” explaining the pointlessness of feeding gulls bread crumbs because they will eat anything.

Now I have evidence! The above photo features a Western gull eating an ochre sea star. Dinner isn’t going down smoothly, but that doesn’t stop a gull. (Although his companion doesn’t look too impressed.)

I’ve seen photos of gulls eating sea stars before and there seems to be a fine line between eating and gagging when it comes to this entree choice. I would love to witness the entire process because I have several questions: How long does it take a gull to eat a sea star? Do they ever give up and spit the sea star out? And do they always go for the “swallow it whole” approach?

This may be the natural order of things, gulls eat ochre sea stars, ochre sea stars eat mussels, etc. But seeing a gull eat a sea star doesn’t seem natural, probably because the bird looks like it’s choking.

And you might be wondering if you fed the gull bread crumbs, could you have saved the sea star’s life?

No, that sea star’s fate was sealed. The gull will just eat your bread crumbs for dessert.

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