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Gull thinks its mouth is bigger than a starfish

By Gary Bogue
Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 6:14 am in Seabirds.

Gull trying to swallow a starfish. Photo by Joanne Smith, Union City, CA
1gull starfish joanne smith union city

I saw this gull in Santa Cruz.  I watched him for quite a while and the starfish stayed put.  Do you think this is a starfish survival method and he is purposefully sticking himself inside the bird’s throat so he can’t be swallowed?

If so, will this kill the bird?  Or do you think the starfish will dehydrate first?
Joanne Smith, Union City, California

I think it’s more a case of the gull thinking its mouth is bigger than the starfish. Gulls are pretty good at swallowing BIG things and it looks like this bird is giving the starfish its best shot. After a bit, if it doesn’t work, the gull will bend over, shake it’s head violently back and forth a lot until it dislodges the starfish. It may give it another shot (gulls are stubborn), or it will go look for something smaller. /Gary

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