Some birds just get all the attention. Everyone loves the spoonbill with all their character, the colourful flamingos, the regal eagles, the elegant egrets and herons. Even the odd and somewhat ugly woodstork gets respect. But what about the lowly seagull? Are they so common as to be uninteresting?
Not to me. Especially when it’s time for a salmon feast!
In Campbell River, British Columbia, people come from all over the world to fish for giant salmon. At the Tyee Club, fishermen vie for entry to the exclusive club by attempting to bring in a 30 pound Tyee salmon on a 20 pound line, with one barbless hook and no bait, from a boat that is being rowed. When someone catches a qualifying salmon, a bell rings out once for every 10 pounds.
Along with the bell ringing, there’s one sound that is almost ever present. That of the gulls enjoying a good meal gorging on the bits of salmon left on the beach by the fishermen, who generally return the heads, tails and guts of the salmon back to the ocean.
It’s a regular caw-caw-phony! A riot!
Even when there are plenty of heads and tails to go around, the gulls scream with pleasure and play tug of war with the pieces.
It’s a sound I have grown to love growing up on the coast of British Columbia.