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Gull thinks its mouth is bigger than a starfish

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

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011
Under: Seabirds | No Comments »

Harmful algae bloom: Coast Guard rescues distressed seabirds

Coast Guard rescues seabirds in Oregon

Astoria, Oregon — Coast Guard members from Air Station Sacramento, California, load cold and wet seabirds suffering from exposure onto an HC-130 plane for transport to International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in Fairfield, California. The federally protected loons, murrers, scoters and other seabirds were rescued by the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria, after becoming soiled by unusual sea slime caused by a harmful algae bloom along the Oregon coastline. (U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer Shawn Eggert)

The staff and volunteers at IBRRC are having trouble covering the costs of saving these large numbers of distressed seabirds. You can help — please do!

Thanks for caring.You can find out lots more about this in yesterday’s (Tuesday) blog. /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Algae, International Bird rescue research Center, Seabirds | 1 Comment »

International Bird Rescue Research Center to the rescue: Seabirds in trouble.

Stranded by harmful sea foam, caged murres waiting to be checked in at IBRRC in Fairfield. (Paul Kelway/IBRRC)
murres1 paul kelway ibrrc

The International Bird Rescue Research Center needs your help. So do a lot of seabirds that are in BIG trouble.

I just got a call from my friend Jay Holcomb, executive director of International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Jay works out of IBRRC’s bird center in Fairfield. When the Cosco Busan hit the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7, 2007, and spilled oil in the Bay, the oiled birds were taken to IBRRC for care. In my opinion, Jay and his staff and volunteers are the best in the business when it comes to caring for oiled and distressed seabirds. Jay travels all over the world to assist and advise when there’s a big spill.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Algae, International Bird rescue research Center, Seabirds | No Comments »