Bird-hood: A Victoria gull’s early days in photos

Gull chicks rejoice together on their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on Aug. 13. About 150 gulls, young and old, were admitted to Wild ARC last year, according to senior wildlife rehabilitator Wallis Moore Reid. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)Gull chicks rejoice together on their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on Aug. 13. About 150 gulls, young and old, were admitted to Wild ARC last year, according to senior wildlife rehabilitator Wallis Moore Reid. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Gull chicks explore the wonders of their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on July 30. Gulls become independent about three months after birth, according to Wild ARC. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)Gull chicks explore the wonders of their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on July 30. Gulls become independent about three months after birth, according to Wild ARC. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Gull chicks huddle on their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on Aug. 11. More gulls are admitted annually to Wild ARC than any other type of animal, according to senior wildlife rehabilitator Wallis Moore Reid. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)Gull chicks huddle on their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on Aug. 11. More gulls are admitted annually to Wild ARC than any other type of animal, according to senior wildlife rehabilitator Wallis Moore Reid. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Gull chicks spend time with an attentive parent on their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on Aug. 12. Gulls have considerably high cognition and longer than average lifespans for most birds, according to Wild ARC. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)Gull chicks spend time with an attentive parent on their rooftop home in downtown Victoria on Aug. 12. Gulls have considerably high cognition and longer than average lifespans for most birds, according to Wild ARC. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)

While many people have come to despise gulls and dread the chance of being painted by their airborne feces, some may be surprised by a gull’s softer side – that is, when the bird is young, plump, fluffy and grounded.

Gulls are more commonly admitted to the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) than any other type of animal, according to senior wildlife rehabilitator Wallis Moore Reid.

Roughly 150 gulls were admitted to Wild ARC last year, about 60 of which were chicks, and around six per cent of animals brought to Wild ARC annually are gulls.

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Moore Reid said chicks require about three months of nurture before they are able to live independently, with high quality fish being especially important to their diet. They also need specialized perches in order to keep their webbed feet healthy.

Gulls have considerably high cognition, being put through foraging exercises as chicks. Generally speaking, they also tend to have longer lifespans than other local bird types, requiring four years to reach sexual maturity.

The next time you find yourself a few floors above ground, consider keeping an eye out for gull chicks living on nearby rooftops. They may not be the most attractive birds, but one could argue they are much more appealing to watch – still unable to fly and sporting a pleasant feathery plumage – than their rambunctious adult counterparts.


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