I grew up with the ocean at my back door...and although now, I'm not quite that close, I'm still within the sounds and sights of the "mighty annoying seagulls.." My son, on the other hand shares space with them now, in the fishing village of Gloucester Mass. Anyone that knows anything about seagulls knows it's the ocean for them..why not, such great fishing there, and when they are not fishing, they are squawking..all the time.
I saw a different and usual side of them this spring, and I was once again reminded about my ability to judge before observing and knowing the trials and tribulations of another person or in this case, another bird. I was visiting my son recently and he has a great view of the ocean from his third story apartment in the heart of downtown Gloucester...I often look out his window when I'm there and watch as the boats come and go with their catch, on a nice day, with the windows open, you also are entertained with the smell of the sea and the squawking of the damn seagulls...this day though, I was in for a surprise and a lesson.
Chris keeps his rocking chair in front of the window sometimes when he is reading. He often finds it quite lovely as he sits there to enjoy the view every once in awhile. Today it was my turn to sit in the chair while I was waiting for him..."and what to my wondrous eyes should appear but a Mother Seagull getting prepared." She was nesting and watching and keeping good eye..because the only place that she had for her nest, was a heating unit on the top of a building, she was completely out in the open, with nothing for shelter. Quite vulnerable to any raptor that might come along...
I watched her for a long time..I looked at her face up close. How could I, in all my years, have missed her beauty. Beautiful orange beak, bright red rimmed eye, and snow white feathers. I saw her nest, carefully and lovingly put together, strand by strand of sea grass. I watched her watch the environment of where she was..keeping a close eye on her surroundings. There were several other birds on the top of that building but they were not approaching her...it occurred to me in that moment, that she is just like any other Mom...she just wants to protect her unborn babies with all the energy and preparation that she can muster. Her first concern is not for herself but for the eggs that she sits on. She waits, like all Mothers, for the day that she sets her "Chicks" free.
Out of the corner of my eye..I see this other seagull, the one who hadn't moved, start walking around the back of the chimney...he looked like a detective on surveillance. Strange looking bird. I wasn't sure of his intent to that nest. Again, I was surprised.
It seemed Momma Seagull needed a break but she would not leave that nest, that is, not until Papa Bird got his tail feathers around the chimney and the minute Mama Bird got up and ruffled her feathers a few times, then flew away...Papa Bird was on that nest like a fly on rice. He went into his "I'm here dance" and once he got all his feathers in place and his wings tucked in, down he sat...can I just tell you my heart felt good. When I saw that Mother bird take off, my anxiety level went up as I thought about those unprotected eggs up on a roof top..another lesson learned about nature..somebody is always watching over the babies.
As I watched this scene play out I learned once again that things, people and now birds, are not as they seem. Yes, the color of a book can be pretty but that does not always make for good reading. A person can appear to us in many different ways and we form ideas and make judgements sometimes without even having spoken to this person. If we take the time to speak, we most often like who we meet and many good things can come from that chance encounter. Now, I know it's the same for birds, at least for me. For all my many years I have judge this beautiful seagull. I thought of them as annoying, loud, crass and nasty. Gee, that sounds like some people I know, but in the end, on this one day, I found them quite beautiful, loving and not so different then us when taking care of those that they love. Building a solid foundation for the next generation of seagulls to entertain us. In watching them, I also saw the danger of their jobs to parent...living on a roof top is not an easy task...but you know, how sweet home...they were making it work..so next time you see a Seagull...don't judge...just toss them a french fry...maybe they have a baby they want to take it home to.