The Western Gull / by Michael Johns

Many of the seabirds on the Farallones either breed underground, within rock crevices, or on inaccessible windward sea cliffs, and thus are not often seen during the day to day activities on the island. The one species, however, that dominates both the visible and audible landscape of the island is the Western Gull. These ubiquitous birds essentially nest on every patch of unoccupied space above the high tide line, and they aggressively defend those patches with tenacity. Currently most are still in the process of laying a full clutch of 3 eggs, but when those eggs finally hatch in a few weeks, their temperament will undergo a dramatic transformation. These aren't your typical passive gulls on the beach quietly stalking you french fries. Breeding Western Gulls become so determined to protect their chicks that we have to wear hard hats whenever leaving the house to shield our heads against the areal attacks.