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Monday, November 9, 2009

Gull and bait fish

I've been meaning to post this picture for a while (I took it earlier this summer), but I always end up blogging about something else. Today's the day!

I was out watching the sunset, and a rhinoceros auklet was diving and feeding on bait fish, perhaps to take back to its chick. Often, they will capture their last fish of the day and then carry it to their nesting site, which is often miles away, under the cover of darkness so predators don't find their nest.

Gulls will often come in and take advantage of an auklet or other diving bird that herds a school of small fish near the surface, hence bringing the food within reach of the surface-bound gull. I see this all the time, but what made this particular encounter so unique was all the fish bubbling to the surface around the gull as they made an effort to escape the auklet.

It must be an interesting life to be a gull. As a fellow naturalist put it, they pretty much make a living by waiting for someone else to get food. Then they find a way to steal or otherwise get some of it. Scraps stolen from seals, sea lions, or whales; food scavenged from humans; or in this case, fish schooled to the surface by a diving bird. Hey, whatever works!


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Love the light thruogh the primaries and secondary tips great atmospheric shot



Warren Baker said...

Gulls and Corvids - they have evolved much the same techniques. You have to admire their theiving ways!