Dead gull season

The many flat roofs of downtown New Bedford host a nesting colony of Herring Gulls. By this time in the summer, the young birds have been out of the nest for some time, and they’re trying to figure out how to make a living. Some of them still cry at the adult Herring Gulls, trying to coax an adult into regurgitating up some nice fish. Herring Gulls are not particularly social, and the adults want nothing to do with the young gulls once they’re out of the nest. The young gulls turn to foraging for garbage. I was driving up Acushnet Avenue the other day. A young gull stood in the middle of the intersection with William Street, trying to tear open what looked like one of those brightly colored bags fast food comes in. I tooted my horn and slowed down, expecting the bird to fly, or at least hop, out of the way. It didn’t, and I narrowly avoiding running it down. The young gulls haven’t yet learned to avoid cars and trucks. On my walk today, I saw two corpses of young Herring Gulls, one in the middle of the swing-span bridge with one broken wing pointing up, and another one completely flattened in the middle of Route 6. From what I’ve seen along the sides of the roads, this year’s crop of Herring Gulls will suffer its highest mortality rate over the next few months; the ones that survive will have learned to hop out of the way of cars, no matter how enticing the smell that comes from the brightly colored paper bag.