23 May 2011

Laughing gulls in a frenzy

I filmed these laughing gulls in Florida last month. The sun was setting and the tide was moving out. The gulls seem to have been in some sort of day's end ritual that involved dipping their heads in the water.


Enlighten me if you know what was going here.


Zombie said...

What could they possibly be laughing at?? lol.

finite empathy said...

I couldn't say for sure but having done a lot of clam-digging in my time I would imagine it has more to do with the tide than the time of day, although tidal schedules do tend to somewhat coincide with solar. In my experience a great deal of the activity of all the organsims living in the sand revolves around the tide, so perhaps the gulls here are eating sand fleas or something of the kind.

If you are ever on the beach and look closely at the undisturbed hard sand near the tide you will see numerous depressions varying in size and sometimes shape. Mostly this varience is due to the difference in the organism causing the shape. For instance, clam holes as they are called can be distinguished from those caused by sand fleas (talitridae), sand crabs (hippoidea), or lugworms (arenicola). The experienced clam digger can even tell not only which depressions belong to clams and which do not, but also which among the clam holes belong to clams within the required dimensions (usually restricted by government regulation).

Anonymous said...

I believe they are just rinsing themselves off, like a lot of birds do when they are standing in water. if you look carefully they aren't simply dipping their heads, they are scooping water up and over themselves.They wiggle their wingtips and tail when the water runs down their backs.

I think it is just normal washing behavior.

Susan J. Hewitt


Susan, that would be the simplest explanation. And it might indeed be the case.

Manic Minx said...

perhaps they are getting ready for bed :)

thepowmill said...

They appear to be bathing . Dipping and shaking as birds in a birdbath do .