I have a soft spot for seagulls. I know they crap on everything, and I have had to clean one's guts off my airplane before when it decided to use the same runway as I was, but they're so cute. They can fly the hell out of most weather. They can float. They can walk. They can perch on things. I like their big shiny white bodies, the way they adapt to city life as if the lampposts were designed to be footwarmers, and their boldness in going after what they want.
This one is a little wary as it steals the cat's food, trying to keep one eye on the cat as it dines, and at 28 seconds into the video, solves that problem hilariously.
Can you be a pilot and not admire birds? They find the best thermals. They complete tricky crosswind landings with no knowledge of aerodynamics. They perform astonishing formation flight, carry awkward external loads, execute pinpoint landings and even fly underwater. For me it's the gulls, jays and corvidae: the clever, annoying problem-solvers. I know a lot of people prefer the high-flying, sharp-eyed raptors. Are helicopter pilots partial to hummingbirds?
I think that's a student of Jonathon!
My favorite bird is the unladen African swallow.
I love them all! They fascinate me with the different flight characteristics... from the soaring elegance of seagulls to the stiff-winged, fighter jet maneuverability of some of the small ducks.
They've got intelligence that we can't begin to measure. I mean, how do they KNOW how to fly without anyone teaching them? And how to navigate from one end of the globe to the other - even tiny hummingbirds! ... no GPS required. Amazing. Just amazing.
Pelicans. I love to watch them swoop and get a fish and then fly back in formation.
When Redondo Beach (Cal) had the massive sardine kill a couple of weeks ago the pelicans were floating around like fat old men at a fish fry going yeah this is the life. I don't think the best load master would have been able to get their W&B right.....
Seagulls and pigeons are rats with wings.
Once you had those lines on your blog where birds were found to use radio wire for building their nests. The explanation was that they monitor the ATIS. I liked that a lot.
I grew up admiring the pelicans myself. Maybe I should get a floatplane endorsement?
I saw a seagull do a forward slip once.
I was riding my bike over a bridge when a seagull flying overhead suddenly dropped some altitude. I hadn't been watching it that closely, but what I had seen looked a lot like it had been cross controlling...
I watched it more carefully as it glided over the bike lane, looking around. Once it was over the railing, it half folded one wing, twisted its tail in the opposite direction, and dropped altitude in a nice controlled straight line. Once it was below the level of the bridge deck, it straightened itself out and glided away.
My favorite is the albatross. I had the priviledge to go to the Galapagos islands in 2009 and see them. The guide was telling us (not sure how 100% true it is) but they are so big they can't just bat their wings to fly. They need to jump off a cliff and then with that speed they get the air flowing over their wings and can then fly and bat their wings.
What's even cooler (again, according to the guide... but he seemed to be making up a lot of stuff) is that the first time they fly, it's either fly or die (if they don't have the instinct or whatever, they hit the bottom of the cliff they jumped off of). We had the awesome experience of watching one fly for the first time... it lived. But I was a bit nervous.
The blue footed boobies were cool too. But I hated the shirts they sold "I love boobies". It was such a "dad" shirt.
Bonne fin de semaine tout le monde.
That cat deserved to have its food pinched - call itself a predator?!
I could watch terns for hours, the most delicate and aerobatic of the seagulls.
I, too, share your passion for seagulls!
I could watch them for hours when they are gliding along the dunes on the North Sea Coast. Having done quite a bit of ridge soaring in gliders myself, I feel they are excellent teachers for us human pilots in this discipline...
And I am still partial to them even though once, when sitting on a beach, I was robbed of a fairly large piece of pastry by seagull who flew an "attack" out of my blind angle. That was quite an impact, too, leaving me stunned...and the gull with a lot to swallow, which it did without a hitch :-)
They also seem to be into ice cream...I was witness to another one of those blind angle missions where a gull robbed a child of a sizeable portion...
Best regards from Europe
PS: If I haven't said so before: kudos for your blog, I love reading it. I am surely not the first one to suggest it, but with your literary skills you could easily build a second/ parallel career in journalism and writing!
This is my first time replying to this blog, so: "Hi, everyone."
I like the Bird/Pilot line of questioning. It lead me to wonder what sort of bird UAV drivers like. They operate things that basically fly themselves, stay aloft for a long time, and whose method of landing involves getting snagged in a net if an LZ's not a convenient option. I thought about what sort of bird might be similar to this, and the thing that kept coming to mind is Plastic Bags (like the sort they have at the grocery store checkout in many places). They aren't birds proper, but they certainly fill the profile. I've seen them sailing as high as 6000' in places, they get stuck in trees, and they're an annoying reminder of the carelessness rampant in the world.
What I like about seagulls is that they soar, glide, rise on thermals, blah blah blah.... they are awesome fliers. But they can't land worth a damn. I love to watch them swoop gracefully down, decelerate to position themselves right where they want to be, hit the stall point, and then OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD PHEW!!!
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