Pest Control Black-backed Gull

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FlyingKiwiGirl
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Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby FlyingKiwiGirl » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:52 pm

I was standing outside our RV looking at the sea when I heard some loud squealing. At first I thought it was a fluffy chick of some sort a Black-backed Gull had grabbed, but then to my horror I realised it was a rat that had been running across the sand. The gull beat the rat back and forward on the sand, it escaped a couple of times but was grabbed and whacked again on the sand. Eventually it was reasonably still and then, while I'm thinking- what is the gull going to do with it now, take it to the water to drown it and then pull it apart- horror of horrors it turned it around and swallowed it whole and in one gulp! :shock: And then for good measure chased a Red Billed gull away that had something in it's bill. Not a rat leg though, I checked for them in the photos. The BBG then sat down for the next hour looking slightly uncomfortable! So, for all those that malign the BBGs, just remember they are good at pest control too! :D -Port Jackson, Coromandel
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FlyingKiwiGirl
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby FlyingKiwiGirl » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:53 pm

Series continued...
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FlyingKiwiGirl
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby FlyingKiwiGirl » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:55 pm

And the final two...
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Jim_j
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby Jim_j » Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:05 pm

Interesting- I wonder how often it happens. I know falcon and weka have been recorded preying on rats but never heard of BB gulls before.
I can imagine hawks and herons are also potential predators.

Cheers
Jim
Colin Miskelly
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby Colin Miskelly » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:04 pm

Kia ora

Great series of images Shellie!

I have seen a gull carrying and swallowing a rat, but do not know if it caught it. Rat skulls have frequently been found in black-backed gull nests on Kapiti, Mana and Matiu/Somes Islands (and no doubt elsewhere), and are assumed to be mainly scavenged at landfills (ever wonder what happens to the rat corpses put into household rubbish?). But they are a pain in the proverbial for DOC as each find triggers an incursion response that ties up staff resources for the standard 30 days of nil tracking, chews or captures.

Cheers
Colin
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zarkov
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby zarkov » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:13 pm

Haha.

I realize it must have been traumatic to watch irl, but it's an awesome set of pics.

Should keep the BBG haters here quiet for a while.
Clinton9
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby Clinton9 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:23 pm

Kelp gulls are fish-eaters, but they do eat rats, small birds and gamebird / waterfowl chicks, large insects & worms if given the chance...a rat running on beach get caught and eaten by Kelp gulls in NZ.
sm1979
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby sm1979 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:41 am

Great Pictures!
Have seen BB Gull swallow a dead rat off the road. Also ducklings and even an injured blackbird!
They are great for cleaning up the carrion!
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FlyingKiwiGirl
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby FlyingKiwiGirl » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:51 pm

Thanks for your comments everyone, very interesting information. And when you think about it, if BBGs eat other coastal birds' chicks why wouldn't they eat rats too. In fact I wonder how on earth dotterel/oystercatcher, et al chicks survive when BBGs are so quick.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Pest Control Black-backed Gull

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:48 am

Very interesting observation. Worth a short note or a few lines in southern bird.
Looks like a Norway rat, and that would be most likely in that environment. For the gulls sake, hopefully not full of anticoagulant.

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