Where All Those Gulls are Going
Editor’s note: In Your Say in the paper of Feb. 7, part-time liveaboards Joy and Walt Kass asked our help in locating the destination of flights of gulls in daily two-way transit over Herring Bay at Tracys Landing. A couple of readers replied, offering the same destination — but two different locations. To their local knowledge, Creature Feature columnist Wayne Bierbaum adds the bird behavioral perspective — plus a third possible location. Thanks to all.
The gulls are headed west to the County landfill in Millersville, helping out with our recycling efforts.
My home is located on the Bay directly across from Herrington Harbour South, and I witness this ritual every morning at dawn and again in the evening close to sunset. Sometimes they stop to rest in the water in front of our home — hundreds and hundreds of them. I was told years ago that they are flying back and forth to the dump on Nutwell Sudley Road. This only occurs in the winter, I have noticed, which makes sense as their food sources I would imagine during the colder season are more scarce and the landfill is easy pickin’s!
The easy answer is that the flock decided that good food was down the Bay and roosting was better in the opposite direction. But how was that decision made? Many birds live in large flocks and use a collective intelligence to be safe and find food. The flock moves in the direction of the leaders but will change leaders and move in a different direction with a simple squawk: food or danger. Many types of gulls prefer living in flocks. The birds flying by North Beach were likely ring-billed gulls. Bonaparte’s gulls, herring gulls and laughing gulls also prefer living in large groups. One of the best places for fishing in the winter is the warm water effluent at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, which may be where they were headed.
SOUPer Bowl Scores for Light House
More than 200 people turned out for the 13th Annual SOUPer Bowl Lunch at Heritage Baptist Church, raising $2,400 for the Light House Homeless Prevention and Support Center in Annapolis.
Graduates from the Light House BEST Culinary Job Training Program, Chef Linda Vogler (executive chef and director of culinary services for the shelter) and volunteers from the church and community ladled soups prepared by Chef Zachary Pope during the two-hour event. Guests enjoyed a selection of soups along with salad, bread and dessert.
Whole Foods in Annapolis donated floral arrangements, and additional soups were given by Flamant of Annapolis. There was no admission fee, but donations were requested to help the Light House.
Heritage Baptist Church is an affiliate congregational partner of the shelter, offering support and resources throughout the year.