Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun

The post-coital noise level next door drove me to seek solace at the waterfront, feeding several partial loaves of bread to seagulls and pigeons.

I was happily ensconced in seagull heaven when two young girls of about 12 and 15 came up to me and ordered me to stop feeding the seagulls.


"Why?" I asked as I pitched a really sweet long shot at a gull who swooped and snatched it on the upswing.

"They become aggressive," they said. I kept flinging large crumbs to my winged friends.

These girls, who were both bigger than I, were standing much too close to me. The older one grabbed my bag of bread, and I realized that they were serious.

She flung it over the seawall and I caught it just in time, nearly taking flight myself onto the boulders in the water below.

"Go," I told them tersely. "What gives you the right to take something from a person you don't even know?"

They chanted in unison, "You shouldn't feed seagulls. They become aggressive. It's bad to feed seagulls. BAD PEOPLE feed seagulls."

I kept throwing out my bread. There were about 40 gulls and half as many pigeons surrounding me. I was their holy grail.


"Sorry, girls, I like feeding them," I said.

They kept telling me that I was a bad person, that seagulls became aggressive, at which point, the birds, whipped into a feeding frenzy, beat their wings and screeched for my attention.

Aggressive? I would prefer "hopeful." Or even "forceful."

I love seagulls.

The younger girl began running around the seawall, yelling "Shoo!" at the birds. I asked her to stop. She smugly screamed her "too aggressive" litany. These girls were clearly brainwashed. They had the fervor of religious zealots. Bornagain bird haters. The Anti-Gull.

I had never seen anything like it.

They were practically foaming at the mouth. I considered whether I had ever had a rabies shot in case they bit me.

They kept chasing my birds away. I told them, "You don't have to feed them, but don't spoil it for those who do."

"Why do you feed them?" the older girl asked.

"Because I like to."

"You're a really bad person," she said.

Then the Mother Load lode came along. She was a huge battle ax of a dame who would have looked quite natural in a mustache.

"They're so BIG," she exclaimed. "Biggest seagulls I've ever seen."

"Because she's been feeding them all day," sneered the younger girl venomously.

The mother also scolded me and assured me that she had seen seagulls so aggressive that they took bread right out of people's hands. Kind of like her daughters.

"Thank you for your advice," I told her, still tossing crumbs. I had lots of bread and I intended to use it.

"I'm a sailor so I know what I'm talking about," she said as she swaggered away. She gave me one last scathing look of disgust.

I'm still trying to reconcile their apparent fear of aggression with their own aggressiveness. I cannot imagine why these people thought it acceptable to criticize and insult a perfect stranger and if I were not a big fan of St. Francis of Assisi, I would have directed my friends to poop on their heads and peck their eyes out.


thailandchani said...

Geez! It's amazing how people will become when they climb on bandwagons that they don't understand at all.

I'm sure they see absolutely no inconsistency between their aggressiveness and the aggression they purport to discourage.

Sounds like they could use a lesson in manners as well.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I was shocked at the aggressive rudeness of these people and their attitude of entitlement.

Atrocious brats and a mother with as much charm as the Bitch of Buchenwald.

furiousBall said...

i think they just wanted your bread. sailors freakin love bread

The CEO said...

Totally obnoxious people. They'll never last. They will do that to the wrong person and big trouble will ensue. You can't grab someone's bag, or try to stop them from feeding birds physically without having someone retaliate. And the mother won't be much good when it happens, sailor or not. Hopefully, a cop will be nearby to minimize the damage.

Tanya Brown said...

Yeah! What Furiousball said!

Dadgummed pesky sailors.

velvet said...

Yes, screaming rhetoric at total strangers and physically grabbing things out of their hands is exactly the way to win people over to your opinion. Yeah, right.

Has society eroded all the boundaries of civility that used to keep people from being so aggressive to each other? What a trio of rude idiots.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

What an absurd experience! I think you handled it well. I hope I never encounter such zealots when I’m in the park through bread crumbs to the mallards.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That must have been it. I give good bread!


Seriously deranged people. I couldn't believe their behavior and at first thought they were kidding.

They weren't.


I don't think that woman was really a sailor. No parrot. You can't fool me.


I fear society is quite done for. The rudeness knows no bounds anymore, and the violence is not far behind.


Mallards and swans and gulls, oh my. I've never heard of anyone so vehemently opposed to seagulls.

I'm still in shock that they thought they could push me around so easily. I think my feelings are a bit hurt.

RED MOJO said...

Sounds like they just came from a matinee showing of "the birds" and were a little freaked out.
You are a very patient human, if some kid came and started ordering me around, and then grabbed something out of my hand, well, lets just say there would be duct tape involved and many more loaves of bread, and lots of screaming.

As far as feeding the ducks goes, here's an education on why you shouldn't.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Too many "bad" people must have been feeding that family with bread. This will explain their aggressiveness. Yes, bread is evil. It comes from hell or some other very hot place called"the oven". Now that you got me started, I just realised that "oven" is "coven" as in witches' coven without the "c". Coincidence? I think not! said...

I'm so pissed off at that little group of terrorists. I can't believe that children would actually yell at an adult.


meno said...

Interesting debating technique; screaming, insulting, threatening and grabbing. Sigh. It seems many people try this technique, but it just doesn't work.

Crankster said...

I once wandered through a seagull nesting area by accident and was dive-bombed. Seriously, it was like something out of North by Northwest. I've kept a respectful distance ever since.

I still can't get over the brats. The notion that my personal little hang-ups should have an effect on you is somewhat terrifying. Too bad there wasn't a cop nearby.

Liz said...

What in the world?

That's just a complete lack of any kind of decency. No amount of caring for the welfare of an animal makes it okay to behave like that to another person, especially when there are no signs posted forbidding you to feed the sea gulls.

It's scary that they would all feel so comfortable behaving in such a threatening and aggressive manner.

Mariposa Speaks said...

Very interesting...and I'm split on what to comment... :D

First, from a naturalist point of view, I really do not encourage people feeding gulls or any birds (wild), for reasons like, it is not their normal diet and also they tend to wait to be fed, which makes them lazy and is not a natural way for them to live...

Second, I do not agree to what those girls (add the Mom) did to you! They were mean and rude and they may have a point or not, they failed to deliver it you bec of their wrong approach...

Anonymous said...

I think your goodness works in a reverse way with attracting the complete opposite people (except for Flip and those people who really count of course).

I think it loverly that two such wonderful and well-mannered girls come from such a wonderful and well-mannered mother. It all makes such perfect sense. And she is a sailer to boot!!

Maybe pecking out their eyes would have been unsaintly, but I am sure St Francis directed an errant poop or two.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Duct tape and screaming... could be music to my ears.

I know a lot of four-letter words. I didn't use them because these people were so insufferable that I was almost struck dumb.

Your link didn't work.


You've given new meaning to breaking bread, fresh from the coven.

I think if you're of a mindset to see evil, you will see it everywhere.

These people were definitely overfed and overly aggressive.


I'm pissed off, too, now that the shock is wearing off.


Storm troopers don't debate.

It's hard to fathom raising kids to be that nasty to strangers.


I once wandered through a gull nursery too, on Fire Island. They watched me intently, but except for a little wing flapping, they didn't bother me.

The ramifications of such behavior are frightening. Where will it end?


Their concern was not for the animals, trust me. They were horribly arrogant bullies, really mean girls.

The gulls who hang out along the seawall are scavengers. Many people feed them. Besides, the recent oil spill killed many fish and birds, and the survivors are hungry.

I give them seeds, too.


They were so rude that any point they might have made was lost. Brute force closes hearts really fast.

Franki said...

People are freakin irony-proof, I swear.

Franki said...

Oh and also, what is post-coital noise? I'm thinking maybe I've been doing it wrong all this time, making noise during the coital part.

Josie said...

Seagulls? Aggressive? Noooo! Seagulls have always been that way. Your feeding them is not causing it. Those rude, aggressive people, however, I wonder what is causing that? So many people take on "causes" nowadays and feel a sense of entitlement in forcing everyone else to agree with their way of thinking. You should ask them if they own a cat. Domestic cats kills hundreds of millions of song birds annually in North America. It's a much bigger problem than a few fat, agressive seagulls. (They must have just watched Hitchcock's "The Birds" recently.) Continue feeding the birds, Hearts, and the next time you see those girls, just tell the little buggers and their mother to knaff off. :-)

Open Grove Claudia said...

Sea gulls are always aggressive. Bread has nothing to do with it. We used to call them wave gods due to their aggressive tendency to right the crest for food.

I'm sorry that happened. Especially when you are so sick.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Sleazerella always produces a lot of really rapid, high pitched squeals like a coked-up auctioneer while prancing back and forth in those damned heels. Her voice goes up an octave when Boyfriend is around.


She's a moron. I'm sure you're doing everything right.


Thank you for the nice there-there. I was feeling bruised.

I am still in shock that those kids thought it was okay to push me around. I have rarely seen such a display of rudeness, and pity the ones who go to school with them. They are a good argument for home schooling.


Of course sea gulls are aggressive, mostly toward each other. I always try to feed the ones who hang back, (usually female) and thoroughly enjoy interacting with them.

The way they can hover in front of my face delights me.

I'm sorry it happened, too. I might have been more peppery if I had been feeling better

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I've always heard that like attracts like, which is downright scary in this instance.

Yes, they were a perfect matched set. Such loutish behavior is unusual, in my experience, but seems to be on the increase. Let's hope not.

Generally, pigheaded adults raise pigheaded offspring, but such people really should not be allowed to breed. I think it's quite astounding that this woman had TWO opportunities to get pregnant, considering.

CS said...

Good grief. Apparently your gull-feeding made the girls aggressive. Unbelievable. And more astonshing that their mother condoned their horrible behavior - does she really feel like it was okay that they essentially tried to mug you? Yikes!

Rachel Schell said...

how strange! my first thought was that they sounded like scary religious people of the bird persuasion. they should mind their own business.

I love to feed the birds too. it's so relaxing. seagulls are my favorite. I call them ballet dancers of the sky. they are so beautiful.

thirtysomething said...

They SNATCHED your bread? WHAT is that? THAT would have PISSED ME OFF. In their faces--off to buy more bread, thank you very much, would have been my maneuver.
"i am a sailor..." EXCUSE ME?
Obviously you kept your cool, as I have demonstrated that I would have not done..right after they snatched the bread. Sorry, I am just stuck right there..that is like, well...bold to put it nicely.


RED MOJO said...

Sorry, I guess I screwed up the link somehow, but it does work if you copy and paste it. I just tried it.

Ian Lidster said...

That incident strains my credulity and I found myself mouthing assorted F-like expressions even as I was reading. How dare they? And how dare anybody encourage such repulsive brattiness and snottiness? Sometime those stupid girls are going to choose entirely the wrong person to chastize. Meanwhile, sic the shithawks on 'em. And then you'll have to come up here and ride one of the ferries. People feed the gulls off ths stern all the time.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Exactly. I felt mugged. Utterly violated. It was horrible.


Yes, they are avian ballet dancers. They perform for their tidbits, and I have no intention of changing my evil ways where they are concerned.

Thirty Something,

I would have evinced much more anger if they had been adults. I simply couldn't wrap my mind around kids behaving so disrespectfully toward an adult they didn't even know.


I'll try it again, thanks.


It does strain credulity, but I assure you I did not exaggerate.

It was simply appalling. Abominable. And fricking damn nervy.

Humans and seagulls have always interacted in this way. Generally speaking, we are a far more aggressive species than they are.

Lex said...

I am so thankful that my parents weren't dogmatic about anything but respect.

NoRegrets said...

Um, am I allowed to say that I agree with the kids? Not the way they said it, mind you. But when seagulls learn that people mean food, they will come after you. And that would freak me out.

NoRegrets said...

Oh, and no, I don't agree that you are EVIL incarnate for feeding them.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Good parents = Great daughter.

I'm glad for parents like yours, too. We are all better off for it.


Of course you are welcome to disagree here. I can see your point, but in fact, I have never seen seagulls menace or attack anyone. They have been a part of my life forever on both coasts, and the only aggression I have witnessed was toward each other.

And thanks for clearing up the part about my being evil incarnate. I hate when that happens.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

What presumptuous little snippits! There are few things as pleasurable as sitting on a lonely beach with a bag of bread and a flock of gulls to keep you company. :)

thethinker said...

That's hilarious. I can't believe they had the nerve to actually take the bread from you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...



I hate bossy people. I always have, and it turns out I still do.


They grabbed it right out of my hands.

They should have a house with 100 rooms and be found dead in every one of them.

the walking man said...

What a reverse Zen situation, you leave your apartment to get away from the screams of sex and it's aftermath from your next door neighbor and wind up with this.

Personally as a used to be sailor we liked seeing gulls and other sea birds because it meant land was just over the horizon.



WNG said...

Parents shouldn't fill their children's heads with utter nonsense. Why? IT MAKES THEM AGRESSIVE! Geez! I've had it up to here with the general publice today. I don't know how you stay so calm and polite.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yes, the irony is not lost on me. I haven't yet figured out the deeper meaning. The sound of one wing flapping?

I spent many childhood summers on a boat, and gulls were always a reassuring presence.


Honestly -- if I hadn't been blindsided by my disbelief that this was really happening, I would have been much less calm and polite.

Of course, now I hope I see them again so I can tell them off as they deserve.

Voyager said...

I think those girls should not be fed. For a long time. Until they learn some manners. Except they would likely starve.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


At least they wouldn't be so aggressive.

seventh sister said...

What a bizarre experience. You could have called the law and charged them with assualt by contact or at least threatened to do so. That is probably what I would have done, threatened them or at least told them that grabbing any possession from someone is considered mugging by t he police and that I could and would charge them if they did not move on. Of courese, I might have just left'cause I'd haev been a big ol' scaredy cat.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I wasn't afraid of them. I was just in shock over their behavior. They were invading my space by standing much too close to me, and snatching something and hurling it is so beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior that I didn't fully react.

Armies know that a sneak attack is most effective, and that is what happened here.

anne said...

Wow. I think I love you.

I just fed seagulls (I call them parkinglotgulls, because that's where they live) last week, and boy did The Masses hate me for it! I was nowhere near cars, I was in the outback of grocery parking lots; there was no collateral damage in terms of gull poop happening. That's why I didn't really get the hate.

I love the gulls too, argumentative bastards that they can be.

anne said...

And belatedly, p.s. I didn't even consider the human implications in this. I was recently horrified by our fellow humans on a trip to Barnes and Noble. Seriously horrified. I don't get out much - mostly I'm at work (very small lab, very small population), at school (we're freaked out about learning, so there isn't much time for shenanigans), or asleep. Or, I guess, grocery shopping. I don't do much retail shopping because I really just don't care about stuff...except for books. They are so alluring, with their sweet smelling pages and ALL THOSE WORDS. Ahem.

Moving on. I had a similarly bad experience with a child and his mother. I thought he was kidding too, until I figured out he wasn't. He couldn't have been more darling in his mother's eyes if he'd been a newborn dipped in chocolate. No details - just - man. I have very little hope for this country. Or really, any country.

Way too much wordage for someone who you don't know.

Bowing out, and thank you again.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'd love to hear about what happened at Barnes & Noble. Maybe you could do a post about it.

I do not intend to stop feeding birds, which is a harmless activity. They are nowhere near as argumentative as those people were, and far more pleasant.

Thank you for your visit.

MsLittlePea said...

yeah creepy!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

:( !!!

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

Man, those girls sound like they need a good bitch slapping.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Big Mama,

You ain't lyin', girlfriend.


jstele said...

"I'm still trying to reconcile their apparent fear of aggression with their own aggressiveness."

Perhaps it is the side of them they refuse to acknowledge, their dark side. "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" deals with this subject. I haven't read the book, but saw an interview with the author. Sometimes, people really dislike others because they reflect back their own dark side. Of course, this is unconscious to them.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I haven't read it either, but I do subscribe to the idea that the qualities we most dislike in others are ones we ourselves have, and that we recognize this on some level.

Thank you for your visit.

storyteller said...

A COURSE IN MIRACLES states "We teach what we need to learn." Seems like those "aggressive girls" were a vivid example of "the pot calling the kettle black" ... and that reminds me that my dad always used to tell us (whenever we tried to "tattle" on someone or make them do what we wanted them to do against their will) that when you point a finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you. I miss that man in my daily life. He was a wise old soul who died much too young, but his lessons live on in me :)

There's a lady in my neighborhood who puts out food for birds every day and they come in droves. The down side is her house and yard are covered with bird poop (a fairly common thing at the beach anyway, but her place is something to behold).

I dunno whether to feed or not ... but I'm not going to tell anyone else what they should do (or not do) in this instance. Life's too short :)
Hugs and blessings,

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Your dad was right about the fingers. It's a good thing to remember always.

I think that someone must have been feeding those people bread because they were terribly aggressive.

Who knew that bread could do that?

Angela said...

Wow. Such a story -- and so marvelously told. I applaud you and your strength. I'm hoping to grow more like you every day. And what a reminder to stop interfering and to stop teaching our children to interfere.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Sadly, most people never learn that. And those people should never eat bread because it seems to make them too aggressive.

jameil1922 said...

i actually saw an episode of $40 a day where seagulls ripped bread out of rachael ray's hand (or maybe from the table directly next to her). i was simultaneously terrified and attacked by giggles. the giggles won out. but if that happened to me i'd be screaming bloody murder! i don't like seagulls or most birds for that matter but i certainly would not tell a stranger what to do with her bread. the gall! you should've thrown bread at them so the seagulls would attack them.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Where were you when I needed you?

I wish I'd thought of it. The bitch had it coming, and her awful kids, too.