Monthly Archives: June 2016

Gull chick day 13

Nearly two weeks now of stinky noisy Gullward/Bindipper Jr. He’s still a fussy eater, but if left with food eventually he does eat it all. He also now hit the 500g mark! His feathers are starting to come through “in pin” so it shouldn’t be long now before he’s moulted out of the downy feathers he hatched with.

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During the day, if it’s not raining or too cold, I’ve started putting him out in the yard, where there’s enough room for him to flap his wings and run around a bit, which I think he seems to like. He’s also eating tiny pebbles for his crop, which is good to see.

Gull Chick Day 9

Gullward is still going strong! I’ve been weighing him a couple of times a day, and this graph shows just how much he’s growing.

I’m feeding him on cheap tinned fish, and scrambled egg, but he seems oddly picky – making begging calls but not wanting to eat anything. Now he’s up to 225g he is being particularly noisy, but again, despite lots of stinky food, he isn’t interested. When he does eat, he’s much more keen to eat it out of my hand than off the floor.

Gullward a few days ago

Speaking of stinky.. very stinky! he craps a LOT. He’s also going to be big enough to get out of this crate soon; once his juvenile (the non-fluffy) feathers come through and he is waterproof, he might go and live outside, we don’t have any foxes about at the minute and he might be a bit happier than stuck in a box.

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Gullward today

Gull Chick Day 3

Wee gull chick! still peeping and putting on weight. However, it started to lose interest in the white fish fillet, so I tried it some cat food and it gulped it down – I wonder if gull chicks demand a naturally varied diet, or mines just super fussy?

Also lovely to see it play with the pebbles and strands of straw, it’s still adorably clumsy, but with some encouragement is drinking out of a saucer and eating on it’s own. Plus, it’s now up to 90g – double what it was on Saturday.

Gull Chick 1

On Saturday, a member of the public brought us a very small gull chick, still fluffy and tiny, so not more than a day old. It is very difficult to know what to do, they had phoned the RSPCA and not been happy with the response, so left it with me (this is the 4th gull I’ve been given over the past fortnight). All I can do here is call the RSPCA, but as I have plenty of time and energy I thought I’d give hand rearing it a go instead.

I left it in the shoebox it had been brought in, but it was soon desperately trying to escape. I put it into a paper-lined fish crate, with a hot water bottle, covered half the box with a towel and left in a dark room. I found some good resources online that suggested what to feed it, so hand fed tuna. I was also pleased to see it attempt to feed itself from dropped pieces, as well as drink freely from a shallow dish of water.

However, it peeped and peeped and peeped! Resources from a wildlife rehab website I found suggested that they don’t beg for food, but instead just beg whenever they think an adult is nearby. It was very persistent.

I weigh it twice a day, it was 46g when it arrived, by the end of the first day it weighed 53g.

The next day one of our volunteers brought me some freshly caught and filleted whitefish. I snipped it into tiny strips, and the chick happily gobbled all of these up, and even stopped peeping! Definitely preferred it to the tuna.

By teatime of the second day, the chick was up to a whopping 70g!

The reserve I live on and manage was at the forefront of gull research in the 1940s to the 1970s, with a Dr Nikko Tinbergen writing his piece “The Herring Gull’s World” on the reserve, which at the time had the biggest Herring & lesser black-backed gull colony in the British Isles. Although the work has some flaws, and his later pursuits were questionable, it remains one of the great works of biology and animal behaviour research. From this and other research he completed with along with Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1973 “for discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns”