Tag Archives: scavenger

Another Scavenger

Perhaps not quite as likely to eat litter as a crow is, the seagull is still a bit of a scavenger. He’s not very choosy about what he eats. Whatever is handy (usually animal matter) on or near the beach, or  even farther out on the water, is good enough to qualify for a meal. Fish guts thrown overboard from a fishboat make a delicious smorgasbord for seagulls.

Clams, crabs, herring roe — anything that is easily available near the beach makes a tasty snack. But we should be thankful they clean up the beaches for us. Imagine the smell if they didn’t eat the dead or dying animal matter.

I was shocked to learn that they will even eat a starfish that is much too big for their stomach. I’ve borrowed this photo from Wikipedia.

On the beach where I saw the brant from the last post, this seagull was eyeing up his meal.

Apparently it was worth dipping into the water for.

Out came something long and gooey, possibly from a broken clam shell.

Now, doesn’t that look tasty?

There’s a good chance that our seagull is responsible for this crab’s lost claw and a few legs – postmortem, most likely. Too bad for the crab, but good of the seagull to clean up the beach. I’m sure he or his friends will  come back to the crab to finish off the snack later on.

After all, who can resist crab on a bed of kelp?

Snacks, Sadly

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Just outside my bedroom window is a rhododendron that has a little history of its own. Twenty-two years ago, my neighbour planted several small rhodos in front of his fence on the road frontage. Our soil is very sandy here and when the deer came along to nibble on the leaves, they would invariably pull out the whole plant. The scenario goes like this: I’m arriving home and across from my driveway I see a rhodo uprooted, lying there dying of thirst and heatstroke on my neighbour’s frontage. I get out of the car, pick up the rhodo and go knock on the neighbour’s door. I present him with his casualty, he thanks me, and I go on down my driveway.

Next time I come home from town, the scene is repeated. The deer have nipped the newly planted rhodo and pulled it right out of the sandy soil. I get out of the car, pick up the rhodo and go knock on the neighbour’s door. I present him with his casualty, he thanks me, and I go on down my driveway.

The third time this happened, I brought the rhodo to his door and his son was visiting. He took the rhodo from me, grumbled, “Thanks,” and tossed the plant to the side of the house.

I felt bad for the poor rhodo. I’m sure it died.

Next time one of the neighbour’s rhodos was pulled out of the ground, I picked it up, put it in my car, and drove the rest of the way down our long driveway. I planted it in front of my bedroom window and watched it grow for twenty-two years. Sadly, none of the neighbour’s rhodos survived. My rescued rhodo thrived.

Here is what it looked like last spring.

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A couple of weeks ago my husband discovered a robin’s nest inside the foliage of the rhodo, and today I upset the parents long enough to steal a photo of their home and children.

 

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Now for the sad part. Every year the robins try to raise their chicks in our yard because we have a lot of trees and shrubs. Every year I have to watch as the crows steal the eggs or worse yet, the chicks once they’re hatched.

crowThis year, the crows have been hanging around as usual, even nesting in some of the tall fir trees next door, just waiting for the robins to hatch so they can snatch the babies to feed to their ugly nasty children. I would agree that everything has to eat, so the crows should be forgiven, but crows will eat anything, they’re scavengers, so they don’t have to eat robin babies.

The other sad thing is that this year the sharp-shinned hawks have been nesting in a grove of trees nearby and they also love to kill small birds. It upsets me, but I can accept this as they are limited in what they can find to eat. They’re not scavengers.

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 Still, I hate to think that these poor baby robins will most likely become snacks. It has been several years since a robin has been able to bring off a hatch here and have chicks survive. One couple even nested three times last year in an attempt to raise babies. Only the crows were happy.