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: Moms Clean Air Force/flickr
Popular

Dr. Richard Jackson: When policymakers ignore science, children pay the price

More than a decade ago, I authored a paper warning that the toxic pollutant lead was damaging the brains of our children and costing each year's cohort of American babies hundreds of billions in lifetime income. Today I am writing because there is mounting evidence that failing to protect our children from air pollution will cost far more.

Keep reading... Show less
Credit: Earth and Main/flickr
Popular

Peter Dykstra: Brace yourself for more attention — and attacks — on climate change and the environment

Advocates of action on climate change have long been galled by the neglect of the issue in reporting on national politics.

Keep reading... Show less
From our Newsroom

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.