This week’s photo, taken May 27, 2014 at Discovery Park in Seattle, WA, features a gull playing the shell game (notice the clamshell in the lower part of the photo).
A few times at Discovery Park, I’ve observed some enterprising gulls that have figured out how to break open clamshells. Although a gull does not have a strong enough bill to crack open a shell, it does have the gift of flight. While clasping a shell with its bill, the clever gull takes flight and gains some altitude above the rocky shore. From a height of about 30-40 feet, the gull opens its bill and – with mouth-watering anticipation – watches the shell fall onto the rocks below.
When the shell hits the ground and shatters, the gull dives down to retrieve the tasty contents that are now being served – on the rocks. The gull needs to move fast because other gulls as well as some crows are usually watching the action, and they are more than happy to steal the prize, if the opportunity arises.
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