Like a Fox


This week’s photo, taken March 1, 2014 at Discovery Park in Seattle, WA, features a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL behaving like a fox. 

Perhaps you have watched an entertaining video of a fox hunting in extreme winter conditions. When it hears a rodent scurrying beneath the layer of snow, the fox leaps upward like a springboard diver and then plummets head-first into the snow.

On Saturday at Discovery Park, a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL’S approach appeared remarkably similar, although a few details were different. The gull was hunting on water, not snow; it was locating its prey not by sound, but by sight; and it wasn’t pursuing mice (unless rodents wear scuba tanks and weighted waist belts). Do mice even have waists? Probably not.

The photo above doesn’t tell the whole story. The gull did not plunge into the water from high in the sky. Instead, it sat on the water and intently scanned below the surface. When it spotted a morsel of interest, it rocketed up a few feet, propelled by an explosive flapping of wings, and then it abruptly altered its flight path, tucked its wings and dove headfirst into the water. It’s a good thing it never gained any significant height because the water was quite shallow, and the gull wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The seabird’s fox-like behavior seemed to work well. Many times the gull performed its “springboard dive,” and several times it surfaced with a tidbit in its bill.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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6 Responses to Like a Fox

  1. Pqgmail says:

    From Birder Joe! Do you get the fox idea? Xo, P.

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Sandy Dijkstra says:


  3. Ruth says:

    Joe: Your photographs are so Spot-On! the angle and detail of this like a fox gull is delightful! Thanks. Ruth in Alamo, CA

  4. Brenda Peterson says:


    Sent from my iPhone


  5. says:

    very interesting! we have a resident fox here at the house. watched a confrontation with our cat out by the suet feeder. Think both were curious of the other but did let the cat in when I realized what and who was there, She lives to see another day!!!! Last year the fox chose to raise her kits right in the rocks in front of the house- was fun to see them but not so fun to find the remains of the neighbors chickens under my clothes line! They seem to be nearby again this year as I see them on a regular basis and the dogs are off and running after their scent. Enjoy your posts as always. Life is good! S

  6. says:

    That is an absolutely incredible shot. And your description of the action makes no video necessary.

    Missed you at RLP, but was pleased that the fellow who did the bird walks did a great job. We got to see an owl pellet, even if Palmera didn’t make an appearance.

    Thank you again for personally introducing me (and all of your fans) to birds.

    Martha in Tucson

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