Feeding seagulls on hand

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russianbear
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Feeding seagulls on hand
Birdgirl2009
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Wow! They're really artistic. Did you bring the chips?

russianbear
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Thanx. At that monent I had just a sausage.

Regards

Alex

Karen
Karen's picture

Great pics.  They are a very opportunistic bird, aren't they.   I've never tried to feed them but have seen others do so.  I've had them land on the car in high hopes though.

Karen
Brisbane southside.

Woko
Woko's picture

Mu understanding is that silver gull (seagull) numbers have benefitted from the rubbish we humans produce & the food we feed them. The result is that banded stilt populations suffer significantly because the silver gulls invade the banded stilt breeding colonies, particularly at Lake Eyre when it has water in it,  & kill & eat the young banded stilts. The banded stilt is a vulnerable bird in SA.

Could I urge caution even prevention on hand feeding silver gulls? It's very nice entertainment for we humans but it has a disastrous knock-on effect on banded stilts. Silver gulls populations are best supported by allowing the gulls to use their natural food sources.

Araminta
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Sorry russianbear, I agree with everything Woko said, it is for our own entertainment, and doing a lot of damage to birds.

M-L

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Sorry, that's quite questionable position. This is a common practice of government ecological service to feed birds at Torrens River. All birds.

Actually humans held lots of pets for own entertiment and feed them by meat killing other animals. Dogs and cats are more dangerous for natural habitats. They disturb and chased birds, brake nests,ets. But people accept that.

Regards

Alex

Araminta
Araminta's picture

You can help look after our local environment by:

  • Bird feeding

    Please do not feed or leave scraps out for Seagulls, Pelicans, ducks or other birds. Feeding them harms their health and the environment.

    cleaning up after dogs and cats
  • not feeding seagulls, pelicans , ducks or other birds – it is not good for their health or the environment
  • stopping litter from entering drains and the lakes, including lawn clippings
  • washing your car at a licensed car wash
  • avoiding the use of fertilisers
  • reporting sewers that are leaking or blocked immediately to South East Water on 131 694

Melbourne Water is continuing to work with aquatic scientists, and in consultation with the community, to put together a draft plan to make minor improvements to the lakes. The aim of these lower cost improvements is to achieve small reductions in blue-green algae levels over time. For more information contact Melbourne Water 

I don't even want to respond to the comparison between feeding domestic animals and feeding wildlife. Not worth a discussion.

Can you please tell me what  " Government Services" feed birds at Torrence River?

I would like to contact them to ask questions.

In any case, I do not believe they, (who ever they are?), would feed the birds sausages. I don't think my position on this is questionable.

M-L

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Seagulls are expert scavengers and I wouldn't think they need handouts! When I used to live in Canberra there were hundreds inhabiting the local tip. A long way from the sea. If they feel like dining on strazz and can't find it on the beach, they are sure to find it at another "shop".

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Yes, that is a very sad  fact. To no fault of their own. It's our "inhuman human society" that messes up nature. Still doesn't mean, I have to accept it, and neither does anybody else. It is up to all of us, to try and change habits and save what is left.

M-L

russianbear
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Guys, seagulls are the most effective cleaners of beaches and embarkments. When people finish eating chips and salads and leave the beach, seagulls make clean up for free. They concentrated on polluted areas like Port River and Torrens River outlet, they eat contaminated fish and molluscs and help people to save environments. Reduction of their number will result grows pigeon populations, more exrements and more pollution. I saw how people of other countries shoot seagulls. But that has not solved any problems. That's better to keep seagulls in urban areas rather than expell them to outback.

Regards

Alex

Araminta
Araminta's picture

I rest my case russianbear, I have to admit, I have never heard a more twisted statement before , than:

" birds help to save the environment by eating contaminated fish"

This is one of the very few times I give up,( I hope someone else will try?)

M-L

Araminta
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Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, heaven help the environment....I have to take a break.....I'm getting too old for this.

M-L

Araminta
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Oh, just one easy to understand point I want to make russianbear, wouldn’t the solution be, “not to leave rubbish behind?”  Shouldn’t we all  “fight to clean up industries that pollute rivers and the environment? “

You still haven't told me what "Government ecological srvice", as you call it, feeds birds at Torrens River? I would like to get to the bottom of it.

M-L

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Some other animals are more volnurable for contaminations. Humans too. The seagulls species are quite stable and reproduce quickly. There is no threat for their extinction.

Regards

Alex

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Actually, there are lots of rubish that ocean bring to the beach, including dead creatures. So seagull are needed to consume them. Australian people are quite accurate and I don't see a big problem in eating on the beach. We certainly need to reduce pollution but that's complicated problem and some measures may cost too much for our society. Unfortunately, TOO many chemicals are used in the farms and they comes to rivers.

I don't know which government organisations care of Torrens River and enclosed parklands but they filled up  feeding-rack regularly  in winter time especially and even strew all-mash on the ground.

Regards

Alex

Araminta
Araminta's picture

I read what you said, you just don't get it. I should not bother explaining it to you, but can't help it, Eating on the beach is not the problem, LEAVING YOUR RUBBISH IS!.  You can NOT use (exploit) birds to clean up your mess and get sick and killed by doing it. How nice of you to say "australian people are accurate, what ever you mean by that?"

I don't think they would have fed birds by throwing "mash" of some sort to the birds, might have been for other animals? Does anyone know anything about this? Please let me know.

In any case, I'm done with this discussion, never heard anything more appalling than those theories before.

M-L

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Russianbear you must like birds because you take some very good photos of them. So you will want to continue taking photos of a variety of birds, not just seagulls. But if you feed the seagulls they won't have to look for food themselves, so they will spend the extra free time making baby gulls. This will result in over-population of seagulls and the loss of other species, because on the days that you don't go down to the beach to feed your strazz to the gulls, they will have to go looking for food elsewhere. In a lot of cases this means stealing the eggs and young from other birds, like banded stilts. What the others are saying is, let nature provide for them, just as it has always done. Feeding them, or making food available by littering, will be at the expense of other sea birds. I am sure you wouldn't want to see other sea birds suffer as a result of over-population of seagulls.

Windhover
Windhover's picture

I think most people in Australia would have, at some time, fed gulls (technically I think they are a Silver Gull, there's no such thing as a seagull) with human foods. Heck, I have been guilty a long time ago. But we should live, learn and share the important info. Birds don't eat chips, they don't eat hamburgers, they don't eat....... well, I guess you know what I mean.

In my far from humble opinion (this time) it is much better to just take photos and not contribute to the selfishness of humanity by exploiting the birds' urge to eat all our food leftovers. While they are scavenging birds, they can easily survive without any kind help from the population and overzealous bird photographers and the like. It's no different than the people feeding the ducks at the local duckpond with bread. Of course, they all think the ducks are bread eaters when I ask them why they're feeding them bread. My second comment is that they must be very accomplished ornithologists to ascertain that it is OK to feed a wild bird with bread. I really need not say anymore.

russianbear
russianbear's picture

I don't feed seagulls regularly. That was just  one time when I made photos. I do not understand such a negative campain against me.

Your arguments are quite doubtful. You can't prove anything that you said. Please calculate how many % of seagulls food consumed came from people's hand and you will see a nonsense of that arguments. Show me any biological research and I will demonstrate you all metodological mistakes that it has. I've got quite extensive scientific experience for that.

Regards

Alex

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Dear Araminta! I did not live rubbish on the beach. I am quite responsible citizen. But when people eating food, especially children, you cannot garantee that small peaces will not left in the sand.

Regards

Alex

Araminta
Araminta's picture

This is a classical misinterpretation of the meaning of the word “you” in the English language.  Leaving “ your” rubbish, is not referring to “ you as a person”,  it is referring to “ you as in one, or you as in everybody in general”

M-L

Owen1
Owen1's picture

It's only a negative campaign against you because you are being very ignorant to the fact that feeding Silver Gulls has a bad impact, it helps them to thrive even more so and drive out, steal eggs, terrorise, etc. other birds. You say there is no scientific evidence to prove this, then show us scientific evidence that proves feeding them is good, I dare you! I will be very interested to see what you try to fool us with!

Cheers, Owen.

russianbear
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That's not true. You insulted me. Please provide proof or will be ready to attend a court.

Regards

Alex

Owen1
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This isn't about court, I didn't mean to insult you, I was trying to get my point across. You should ask birdlife australia about it, they will tell you all you need to know about the impacts of Silver Gulls.

I don't want to heat things up or start a huge argument here, everyone has different opinion and as a result there will always be disagreements.

Cheers, Owen.

Birdgirl2009
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I'd recommend this paper:

An appetite for connection: why we need to understand the effect and value of feeding wild birds

by Darryl Jones from the CSIRO for a discussion of both sides of the argument:

http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=MUv111n2_ED.pdf

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Thanks. You confirmed what scientist (not media) actually say:

Regards

Alex

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Of course everyone may have different opinion. But you judge me for my opinion in a rude manner.

By the way show me seagull in that list.

Regards

Alex

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

You did well to find it. But I am not sure that the "pro" arguments ie winter survival, increased awareness, etc can be applied to seagulls!

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Are we done yet? This is turning into a comedy of some considerable proportion.

(Oh, just one remark, we all judge and are judged for our opinions at times, and even sometimes in a manner we don't like. All of us have to learn to live with that, part of the reality of life)

Can we please call it a day?

M-L

fairlight69
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Lived my entire life on the East Coast of this country and for the life of me I have never, ever seen a Silver Gull's nest. Where do they lay?

russianbear
russianbear's picture

The nests may be found in low shrubs, rocks and jetties.

Regards

Alex

Araminta
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Hi fairlight69, those two are sitting on their nest, on the cliffs of  Phillip Island, their natural habitat.

M-L

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Birdgirl, this is only a suggestion but because you found that paper re feeding wild birds you might like to post it under its own subject. Even if it is inconclusive, I think it is worthy of having its own subject. It is without doubt a very relevant and topical paper for a forum like this and it would be a pity if it got lost in the "photo section" and not read/discussed by all BIB forum members.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

You are right about the importance of feeding or not feeding wild birds. This is a topic of great importance. We have had many discussions about this from time to time, unfortunately most of them ending in tears. I'm interested , but worried it will start something like a war?

M-L

Birdgirl2009
Birdgirl2009's picture

Yes the bickering turns many people away from the forum. I posted the paper because it presents a view of the situation in Australia and the world and presents both sides of the argument without being judgemental. I hope it helps readers respect other points of view, even if they don't agree with them.

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

I wouldn't like to see people turned away from BIB Birdgirl and in fact I would like to see the forum open up to a "wider audience", to people who would benefit from the knowledge and experience of members and also BIB people "at the top" who have good credentials. So I still think the paper is worth its own  topic for discussion. If the forum is to be anything but a social conduit for a few dedicated twitchers, I think BIB could look at ways of being pro-active and bringing in more members. Here's one possibility. BIB needs money (who doesn't). The Jones paper makes it clear that people are going to continue to feed birds, no matter what. And most of those people are not on this forum nor even know about it. Jones concludes that because bird feeding is here to stay, we should try to work towards a scenario of most benefit and least harm to the birds. As the paper informs us, bird feeding and bird food is a big industry in the US and the UK. Now don't recoil in horror, but maybe BIB should think about selling "apprpriate" bird food. In a way all objectives might be achieved; the birds would benefit by not having to eat strazz and chocolate eclairs, people could be encouraged to join BIB at salepoint and thereby "the message" could be broadcast about the primary need for habitat and other vital information about the birds themselves and their needs. At least its worth thinking about???

wottie
wottie's picture

Lighten up, people.  Just enjoy russianbear's fabulous photo!!  Maybe someone would like to create a separate bird-feeding forum.

Birdgirl2009
Birdgirl2009's picture

I have read a number of species profiles and recovery plans for threatened species over the years. The threats that are commonly identified are habitat destruction (clearing and burning), habitat fragmentation, feeding habitat loss, pollution (nutrient enrichment, toxic spills, e.g. oil, chemicals), introduced species (cats, foxes, dogs, rats), parasites (ticks), disease, entanglement (fishing gear such as longlines), competition for food, loss of nesting habitat, erosion of nesting habitat, disturbance of nesting birds, human interference with nests, egg collection etc.

I haven't seen human feeding of birds listed as a threat in these species profiles and recovery plans, so I don't have a problem with people feeding birds something that is similar to their natural food eg grains and fruit. Many centres that care for and rehabilitate birds hold bird feedings on a daily basis for visitors.

Having said that, in Australia 'Psittacine Circoviral (beak and feather ) Disease affecting endangered psittacine species' is a Listed Key Threatening Process. It's worth reading about this disease.

The topic of feeding birds comes up every few months on the forum. Time and time again, people are  willing to defend (often aggressively) their own point of view but not listen to, learn from or respect others.

I joined the forum so I could share the great experiences I have bird watching. The last thing I want to do is log on and fight with people. I think a lot of people feel the same way - they want visiting the forum to be a positive and pleasant experience.

Windhover
Windhover's picture

Looks like a lot of thought went into capturing these photos. If you don't mind me suggesting a few things to improve next time.

1) Stand between the light and the bird, this should give you better overall lighting.

2) Leave enough space so that you can straighten horizon.

3) Take care with clutter in the background. In other words, try to be aware what is beyond the bird. It matters as much as the bird itself.

4) Try not to crop the wings off.

Gulls (not seagulls, there's no such thing and I said that before I think) are easy subjects to practice on. :-)

russianbear
russianbear's picture

You did not catch, Windhover. That's not such a big telelens as you've got. That's wide angle lens ZD 11-22. I simply hang up the camera on my nose and manipulated just one hand. So the position of a quite heavy camera was too unstable.

Regards

Alex

Woko
Woko's picture

I've read with interest &, I must confess, some amusement at times, the postings on this thread since 5 days ago I posted about the problems with feeding silver gulls. I stand by those comments so far but I can appreciate the alternative perspectives that some posters have put. And I've enjoyed very much russianbear's photos.

There's always the question, I guess, of how we manage damaging behaviour that is deeply entrenched in our society particularly when commensense tells us that prohibition is impossible. Heroin use comes to mind as well as human feeding of silver gulls although there's no intention on my part to equate the two. We're unlikely to ever stop humans feeding silver gulls. However, that doesn't prevent me from pointing out what I see & understand to be the problems associated with such behaviour. There may well be people who would say in response: "Goodness me. I never realised that. I'll cease feeding silver gulls & allow them to get on with their natural ecological task of cleaning the beach of dead sea carcasses." There are no doubt others who would interpret what I've said as a direction to them to stop feeding silver gulls & are likely to respond with: "Nobody is going to tell me what I can & can't feed silver gulls." And others are saying: "The jury is out on whether human feeding of silver gulls is a problem." That's the way the world is & people are. I can live with that - probably because I have no choice. But what I do have choice about, so far at least, is whether I use this forum to say what I understand & believe to be the case, hopefully as respectfully as I can. And I also have a choice to stand corrected & consider other information & points of view.

It's certainly unfortunate when some people feel compelled to quit the forum because they find arguments too strongly put or when things become heated &, indeed, abusive. Each of us has a different capacity to tolerate that sort of thing & each of us has a different capacity to put our arguments & opinions respectfully because each of us is different. Again, that's the way people are.

For myself, I found interesting Night Parrot's view that BIB sell "appropriate" bird food as a way of introducing people to the wonderful world of birds. I doubt that BIB would see itself in the role of "appropriate" bird food retailer but it's that sort of thinking that could lead to something very useful. For example, "appropriate" bird food might include native plants which could be sold through pet stores. Perhaps. But who knows where this sort of thinking might lead? Forums (or, as they say in ancient Rome, fora) are great places for ideas.

And Araminta, I'm familiar with the River Torrens but have never seen or heard of any government authority feeding birds. If, russianbear, you could find out the name of the agency I'd be most interested in a discussion with their representatives, particularly in view of the fact that government authorities seem to be more aware lately of the need for ecological restoration along the River.

clif2
clif2's picture

Birdgirl your reply is informative and to the point which I admire you for, everyone on here joined this forum to learn and because they love birds, lets say the converted ones. I do not agree with russianbear feeding birds food not in their natural diet and I am sure that he has learnt from this as I have. The CSIRO paper has also stated that there has been an explosion of Rainbow Lorikeets because people have planted food plants that they like, so yes they are eating a natural diet but is this creating biodiversity by the Lorikeets possibly pushing out other species that may have lived there naturally, so I guess if we have planted native plants that did not belong to the area in the first place then we also have contibuted to a possible loss of species and  even though we did this for good intentions only, but still may not be good for all the local native birds in the overall scheme of things. I believe that russianbear thought that he was being attacked over his issue and he responded how most people do when they believe they are threatened. I would like to suggest that when we hear about someone doing the wrong thing lets inform them in a respectful way and back it up with an example, that way the message gets through more easily and no ones reputation has been hurt in the process. I think russianbear will be informing his Daughters about how to care for and respect birds which starts another generation off on the right track. These very people are going to be needed sooner than we may think to help push environmental issues forward. I for one don't want to lose respect for any of the people on this Forum that have offered nice comments, encouraged me to learn and to do things differently to what I thought was harmless. This is my opinion and I hope that no one takes any offence by It.

Regards

               Shane

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Just come to Bonyton Park, entrance against Phillips St and further down. You will see bird's feeding racks nearby the footbridge.

Regards

Alex

russianbear
russianbear's picture

Not only Rainbow Lorikeets, the poulation of all birds are significally increased in urban areas last decades because they found lot's of foods there. Due to construction and expansion wetlands and pounds in the Adelaide suburbs I expect incrising population as a Banded Stilts as well a Silver Gulls. And that's a quite positive moment.

Banded Stilts and Silver Gulls have the same conservation status LC (less concern). That's highest rank. Don't worry about their extinction. Seagulls cannot kill 200,000 stilt's chiks at Torrens Lake. 

Dont worry of my children. My daughter is a journalist. She informs others.

Regards

Alex

Woko
Woko's picture

I'll check that out when I'm next in that area, russian bear. Thanks.

Raven
Raven's picture

Quiet a number of birds owe their populationj explosion due to us people and the way we live in this society, an easy meal is every birds calling.

The Feral Pigeon or Rock Dove has thrived for thousands of years on human generosity, there aren't too many people who cannot resist throwing the odd scrap or two to the pigeons whilst having lunch in the city, me included.   Many shopping malls now carry "Do not feed the birds" signs...

The Australian Magpie also benefits from human contributions, how many people do you know who feed magpies in their backyards on a regular basis?

The Australian Laughing Kookaburra gets the same privledges as the magpies mentioned above.

The Sacred Ibis, driven into urban areas over the years due to droughts in the bush have adapted quickly and well to living off human waste (check out the local tips) and settle into an urban environment quickly (Sydney CBD and suburbs).

The Australian Raven -ditto- as above...

The Rainbow Lorikeet, there are few people who cannot resist feeding these colourful and social birds in the suburbs.

The Silver Gull, a crafty and opportunistic bird has adapted well with modern man and can be found scavenging rubbish tips hundreds of miles inland.

Other birds of the parrot family such as Pink Galah's, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Corellas have also found sanctuary in suburbia away from past droughts in the bush.  Some 20 years ago these birds were rarely seen in my suburb, now they are a daily sighting, in flocks of 20 or more quite common.

So man and birds go back a very long way, and people find it hard to resist the temptation in feeding them.  Me included, I have a Pied Currawong who gets his half slice of Vegemite toast with butter every morning for the past 11 years, he is part of the family!

Raven, Sydney NSW

Araminta
Araminta's picture

....Priviledge...?

....Human generosity...?

Not in my books!

A slice of "Vegemite toast with butter" ,

to me this is  bird abuse.

(now, feel free to attack me. I'm not a bird, I can stand up and defend myself.)

M-L

Windhover
Windhover's picture

Raven

You'd be far better offering your family member (the currawong) a piece of raw meat or mince if you really want to help it survive being such kind hearted human being.

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

I'm not defending Raven but I have seen a lot worse abuse than feeding a currawong vegemite toast. Like the neighbour I have spoken about before somewhere else on this site who feeds hordes of rainbow lorikeets and indian mynahs together from filthy feeding stations. Of course those of us who have been to Asia have seen dreadful abuse with birds crammed in cages so small that they can't flap their wings, let alone fly. In Cambodia, they sell finches to people to release for good luck ie luck for the person, not the bird. The finches that haven't died from the heat, thirst and overcrowding are grabbed from their cages and handed to the customers who release them, whereupon kids chase the already exhausted birds, knock them out of the bushes with sticks, then shove them back in their cages to resell. I'd rather be a free-flying currawong on a "supplemented" diet than a Cambodian finch (or an Australian battery chook).

Woko
Woko's picture

I think I'd rather be a free flying, natural nectar nibbling, insect ingesting, seed sucking native bird (if there is such a creature) in a natural nook in a national park. No cruddy cramped cages or humiliating human handouts for me.

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