Bird brained? Gull scores a ride to organic composting facility. Twice.

Clearly this bird was using its head.

About three weeks ago, an ingenious gull hitched a ride on a Recology truck to a composting facility in California's Bay Area, returning to Farallon Islands Refuge the next day. How do we know? A GPS tracking device clearly shows it crossed the Bay Bridge, and then headed east on Interstates 980 and 580.


No bird brains here

Western Gull

photo by Pete Myers

I'm a great fan and admirer of scientists (Carl Safina in Beyond Words) and writers (Jennifer Ackerman in The Genius of Birds) who document there's a lot more going on in animal brains than traditional animal behavior scientists imagined.

Not only did they not imagine… they often derided the possibility.

But even Safina and Ackerman didn't imagine the antics of this garbage-truck riding Western Gull hitching a ride to an organic composting center before returning to its nest on the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco Bay.

Spotted by a wildlife researcher

Kudos to researcher Scott Shaffer from San Jose State University, who has been tracking Western gulls breeding on Farallon Islands Refuge to see where they feed.

From the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page:

Gulls were tagged using GPS data loggers. To everyone's amazement, one ingenious gull must have hitched a ride on a Recology truck to a composting facility in Vernalis, CA.

The Facebook video showing the gull's route is a worthy distraction.

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
Credit: Kristina Marusic
Pittsburgh

Clairton residents plead with officials to protect them from pollution following US Steel fire

PITTSBURGH—Residents from eight communities surrounding the Clairton Coke Works gathered alongside environmental advocates in Clairton on Wednesday to share their concerns about the health impacts of a recent influx in air pollution resulting from an accident at the plant nearly a month ago.

Keep reading... Show less
Originals

LISTEN: Visiting climate migrants in New Bern, North Carolina

Lewis Raven Wallace visits displaced residents in New Bern, North Carolina, who are still struggling for housing and health in the wake of last year's Hurricane Florence.

Keep reading... Show less
Victor, who shines shoes downtown for work, is "squatting" in his own town house at Trent Court in New Bern. (Credit: Lewis Raven Wallace)
Popular

Lingering long after a storm, mold and mental health issues

Editor's note: This story is part of a series examining the social and health injustices resulting from increasingly intense storms and is the result of a collaboration between EHN and Scalawag Magazine, an independent nonprofit magazine that covers the American South.

Read part 1 here.

Keep reading... Show less
From our Newsroom

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.