Controlled Crash


It’s that time of the year again when the Herring Gull chicks fly from the nest site. I live by the sea, we don’t have cliffs, just sand dunes, so the gulls come inland to nest. Rooftops are a favourite, especially in the angle between the chimney and the roof, perfect for a large nest. Herring Gulls are large and noisy, all day, every day, even through the night, although they are not just as noisy.

When the chicks fly they are almost fully grown, although their tail feathers aren’t full developed. The consequence is that they tend to have a controlled crash onto another rooftop away from the nest….and we are in the firing line.

Once on the new rooftop the parents will zoom and swoop to protect them. Step into your garden and you are liable to get a very large Herring Gull either have a peck at you as it swoops by, or at the least they will fly over your head calling aggressively and loudly in an attempt to scare you off.

Meanwhile the chick is trying to build up the courage to take flight again.

Bus as often happens they don’t, so we end up confined to the house until the chick does.

Once on the roof the chick will perform all manner of antics, such as suddenly finding that they have landing gear……

…..or better still, as a back scratcher.  If only it would reach.

By now the parents have gone to encourage the other chicks to get moving. They’ve had successful controlled crashes on their own bit of someone’s roof.

Panic! They’ve left! Time to remind them that I’m still here. The chick starts to give out a plaintive cry.

I hate the sound of it, because we are going to hear it now for weeks. No matter where we go in the town, chicks will be on rooftops, in the sand dunes, on the beach, calling, and calling, and calling. They never stop.

Our intrepid adventurer has started to sum up the courage to take flight again. But it’s an awful long way down. So maybe not just yet.

I’ll just check that again…

Finally the chick flies off the roof and we get our garden back. Until the next one decides to leave the nest and make a controlled crash…. and it sounds like it just happened. I’m sitting writing this in the study and I can hear a lot of noise from adult gulls, sounds like another one has left the nest. Yep! I was right. There’s a chick on our garage roof and on my neighbours five noisy adults. Ah! Well that puts paid to cutting the grass tonight. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

 

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7 thoughts on “Controlled Crash

  1. Patti Kuche July 25, 2013 / 22:25

    A friend of mine recently stayed in Lyme Regis, very near the sea front, and was driven mad by the noisy gulls! Your photos are so well detailed with gorgeous tones. I am sure you can’t wait to get out there and cut the grass soon!

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    • Mike Hardisty July 26, 2013 / 21:00

      Hi Patti, the gulls at Llandudno are masters at mugging tourists on the sea front. They swoop in, have a peck at their hand, which causes them to drop their food and then the other gulls dive in and get it. Real noisy as well. Worse still is the white ghosts. Walk on the sea front at night, you can just see these white streaks flying and hear them calling. Very unnerving.

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  2. petspeopleandlife July 25, 2013 / 22:44

    I can’ think of a better excuse to not cut the grass. Besides the fledgelings provided an excellent sequence of photos. I really enjoy good bird pictures and these are more than good. The colors are true and the little ones so cute.

    NIce captures, Mike.

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  3. theresagreen July 26, 2013 / 16:35

    Love it! We have a healthy herring gull population up here in North Wales too and have had two families raised on our roof this year, very recently departed. It’s been very noisy as you say, but also very interesting and I’ve enjoyed blogging about them.

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    • Mike Hardisty July 26, 2013 / 21:38

      They are noisy and brilliant at thieving as well. A quick swoop, peck of the hand and people drop the food they are eating on the sea front

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