She felt it before she saw the first clouds shadowing the horizon. The gentle breeze changed swiftly, picking up speed, gusting through her feathers, urging her, fly! fly!
“Storm!” she screeched as she wheeled through the turbulent currents. “Storm!”
A thousand others took up her call, joining her dance on the swirling zephyrs. Far below, in the rocky cove, hunting seals heeded the call and moved to the safety of the shingle beach.
“Storm!” she screamed at the floating wooden animal beneath her. But the pale-faced creatures standing on it merely waved up at her, deaf to her warning.
Every other Sunday I’ll be publishing a drabble about, or from the perspective of, a bird. This week’s bird is the ubiquitous Gull. What’s so special about the gull, you ask? Here are three facts which you may not know about this noisy, often annoying family of birds:
- Gulls can drink salt water! Their exocrine glands allow salt to be excreted through their nostrils, so whilst drinking salt-water is a big no-no for you and me, gulls manage quite well.
- Gulls are monogamous, and their mating bonds usually last throughout their entire lives. In this, they do better than some humans!
- Hybridisation between some species of gull is quite common, making gull taxonomy a particularly tricky subject.
I like to imagine that to the first European settlers reaching America’s shores, the sight of gulls nesting along the coast would’ve been a measure of comforting familiarity in an otherwise strange and dangerous land.
To view previous bird-related drabbles, click “A Bird’s-eye View” above, or select it from the Short Stories section of the menu at the top of the page.