On my amazing, beautiful, breathtaking run along Bellingham Bay on the official “South Bay Trail” (thank you citizens of Bellingham for passing the levy that paid for this trail), I came across a fascinating sight.
I was almost done with the run and working up to a “You’re almost done! Push! It!” sprint when out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a seagull terrorizing … a starfish? “Huh,” I thought to myself, “Do seagulls even eat starfish!?” And thanking the universe for a legitimate excuse to stop my death march sprint to the finish, I came to a full stop and watched.
The seagull kept trying to pick up the starfish. Given that the starfish was 4 or 5 times larger than the seagull’s entire head, I put the possibility of the seagull making any headway with the starfish at about nill.
To my surprise and amazement, after about five minutes of toying with the starfish, the seagull managed to get the starfish just at the right angle to gulp 2 arms and the bulk of the body into its mouth and down its throat.
And then … it just sat there.
The starfish’s body was larger than the seagull’s head. Adding the arms into the equation, there was no way that the seagull was going to manage to gulp the starfish down (bringing us back to the original question: Do seagulls even eat starfish?)
I watched for about ten more minutes. The seagull sat there, with a stupefied expression on its face. I imagined it was thinking things like:
“Great, now what, Dummy?”
“Ewwww, the little tentacles are moving! I would spit this thing out, but I don’t want to look stupid since I have an audience.”
“Hey, wait a minute! Do I even eat Starfish!?!”
While I waited for the Seagull to do something, (anything!) I began to notice the detailed beauty of my surroundings. I saw many many more starfish. I saw beautiful fluffy purple starfish working their way up among the rocks. I saw the contrasting colors of the orange starfish set off beautifully by the surrounding kelp grass. I actually turned off my iPod and heard the waves and the wind. For once, I really noticed the beauty of the trail I run down every few days.
It was a calming, focusing 15 minutes before the chaos of the day started.
There are lessons to learn from the fifteen minute interlude with the gull and starfish. Some that come to mind are:
1. Stop and smell the roses! Don’t miss the scenery in pursuit of the goal.
2. It’s good to challenge yourself.
3. But sometimes, if you challenge yourself, you may end up stuck with a massive lump in your throat, unable to breathe.
Kuddos to you gal for turning off the Ipod and drinking it all in. Sounds like a celebration of earth to me! The picture is hilarious! I’m not so sure I’d be able to run that trail. I’d be parked by the water all day long. Seems starfish are in season!
Isn’t that interesting? I was in awe when it happened. I imagine that starfish are chock full of protein so probably pretty similar to eating raw fish in terms of the seagull’s diet.
Thanks for poppin’ into the blog and the comment.
Alicia J. says
I came across this blog because I was searching for “do seagulls eat starfish”… Today while on a walk at larrabee my boyfriend and I saw a seagull dive down into the water and pick up a starfish… It then played with it for a while, poking at it, and finally managed to get it down it’s throat…
Is a starfish really good for a seagull?
WOW! That is amazing! Thank you for telling me about that. It sounds like the process might take a while to do so I’m sure glad I didn’t wait. =)
I love the post. I was looking for a slide of such to show the volunteer Beach Naturalists I train and I found these great comments observed of the strange act. Several times I’ve watched gulls do the same thing. I hear they half-swallow one arm at a time to digest/soften each, rotating from one to the next like a rotisserie, until they finally gulp down the whole star. As you might imagine, this doesn’t work once the sea stars get big enough.
Hello. I came across your blog looking up the question “Do seagulls eat starfish?” because my husband and I just witnessed the same exact thing this morning on our walk out to Capitola Wharf! Except our seagull after swallowing the starfish pooped two times and then flew away!
So yes, seagulls really DO eat starfish!!!!
~MarieLouise in Capitola, CA
Hi Joanna –
I am so glad that you find value in the blog. I read yours as well and am a huge fan of ProductBody products!
Joanna Schmidt says
I love your daily posts. The seagull and life and how they can be compared. Very philosophical.
Keep it up….I put your blog link on my blog. You have good content, Ann-Marie.