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Baby Seagulls: All You Need to Know

With more than 50 species, you are sure to find a whole flock of seagulls near a saltwater body regardless of the part of the world you live in.

But did you know that baby seagulls are a lot more interesting than adult ones? Want to know why? Read this article about baby seagulls, and you will learn all you need to know. Let us begin.

The Name

Okay, let us clear one thing out first. There are not really any birds named seagulls. Collectively, the 54 species are all from the gull family. They are mostly coastal species often seen around the sea, and the name seagull just stuck.

So, since there are no “seagulls,” baby gulls from all the species are officially called gull chicks. Pretty straightforward and boring? Just wait till you see one.

The Nest and the Eggs of Seagulls

Hidden in between rocks and pieces of wood or log, seagull nests are made of soft sandy soil, grass, or vegetation to keep them safe from predators and the wind. It is also common for these birds to build shelters in difficult-to-reach places to keep predators away, such as rooftops or ledges on cliff faces.

Gulls build their nests and line them with twigs, feathers, grass, plastic, and rope, among other things. Seagulls lay light greenish, brown, or olive speckled eggs with darker splotches in clutches of two or three.

Gulls are typically monogamous, and they will remain with the same spouse for a long period of time. Using threats and high-pitched cries, both parents keep an eye on their eggs and nest.

For the herring gull, which is the most common sea bird, the incubation period lasts about a month between May and July. Smaller gulls may have a shorter incubation period.

What Do Baby Seagulls Look Like?

While there are minor differences from species to species, most gull chicks are filled with small brown or black dots around their body. Oh, and they are all fluffy and adorable.

Their heads are also speckled like other parts of the body with deep brown or grey beaks and legs. Aside from that, the rest of their body is filled with white, grey, and black-ish feathers up until they are in their second winter.

When they get a bit older, they lose most of the brown and black, and the white becomes more noticeable with the grey encompassing their wing area. Their beaks and legs, meanwhile, show hints of pink.

As for their actual body measurements, due to variations in species, they can range anywhere from 30cm to 80cm in terms of body length. And 61cm to 170cm in terms of wingspan.

The smallest chicks in this spectrum are often little gulls (the actual name of a species of gulls), and the largest is the great black-backed gull. However, it is hard to get an accurate range, so as a general rule of thumb, gull chicks are considered to be close to the sizes of ducklings.

The weights of newborn gulls have been recorded in a variety of ways. Herring gulls were studied for their weight at five days old, and the researchers came up with an average weight of roughly 50 grams.

Gulls of various sizes, including the Herring, Common, and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, weigh between fifty and one hundred grams on average. Because there is a great deal of variation in size and weight between different gull species, some species might be significantly lighter than larger ones and vice versa.

 

The Diet of Baby Seagull

Seagull chicks will literally eat whatever their parents put in front of them, which can be anything! The vast majority of this meal will be regurgitated by the parents.

This may include residues of soft or water-soaked foods, as well as undigested food and meals that have been thrown away by their children.

However, a gull’s diet consists primarily of human feces, fish, and plant detritus, although they sometimes eat other animals and plants. Their regular diet is heavily influenced by the meals that are readily available in their environment.

It is also very rare for gull parents to feed their young more than three or six times a day, which is not the case with most other birds.

The Characteristics of Baby Seagull

Soon after hatching, seagull babies begin making begging sounds to demand food. With growth, the chicks become stronger, and the calls become more powerful and audible. When these gull babies are threatened, they utter piercing cries that may be heard for miles.

Young seagulls are also very curious by nature but, at the same time, are wary of humans and other animals. They also tend to leave the nest at a very early age, so you might see them trotting around in high places or even on the ground.

Sure, they might be at risk of falling, but you really do not need to worry about rescuing them unless they are injured.

The parents are also very protective of their children, and they will try and defend them if someone is seen too close to the chicks.

So, it would be best if you only tried to be the hero when you see a gull chick unattended for at least a few hours. That is, unless you want to be clawed, bitten, and vomited on by the parent, of course.

Parents also do not usually allow the juvenile to hang out with other birds. It is pretty weird as seagulls are known to hang around in flocks. For the same reason, a baby gull will not last long in a different nest with another set of parents.

How Long Does Baby Seagulls Take to Grow?

Chicks will mature into fledglings in a couple of months’ time. They may appear a little odd at this time as additional feathers gradually replace the newborn fluff.

When their flight feathers are fully formed, fledglings may attempt to fly for the first time; however, this is usually a failure as a large number of fledglings will fall to the ground.

In most cases, a parent is nearby, screaming out words of encouragement. They may refuse to feed their young in order to encourage them to fly. Make sure to keep an eye out for the parents when you are taking away a young gull, as they might attack you. They might also fail to feed the child with a human around.

It might take up to four years for juvenile herring gulls to reach adulthood. During their second year, the flight is fully learned. They will frequently be found in high areas, whistling at a high level, pleading with their parents to bring them food.

While they are fully able to fly and hunt by themselves, they usually want things easy and ask for food from the adults.

At the age of around 3, they begin to develop the signature white of the seagull around their stomach. The color of their wings also begins to become more uniformly grey. Their tails become darker due to the contrast, and the tips of their bills become black.

When they are fully grown, their wings become grey all over. Their heads and stomachs become white, their tail tips turn black, and their beak gets mostly yellow with subtle hints of red on the lower half.

After the babies are fully mature, the parent will completely abandon them, leaving the bird with no one to beg for food from. But they are fully capable during this time and can live by themselves.

What to Do If You Find a Baby Seagull

Like we said earlier, you should not run to save a baby seagull at the first sign of them crying. Usually, their parents will be around and keeping track. If you feel like it has been long enough without a sighting from the parents, especially if they seem very young and not independent, there are a couple of things you can do.

Return the Chick to the Nest

In the majority of cases, the youngling would have tumbled off the high place of nesting. It will be necessary for you to locate the appropriate nest and be absolutely confident if the bird and the nest match before placing them.

Carry the baby gull while using either new gloves or, at the very least, do not have any other scent on them. Check for injuries for a brief period of time. A newborn seagull that has been injured should be taken to the local wildlife rehab.

Carry the baby into the nest using a ladder, stairway, or whatever technique you have available to get to the nest and set it there. Do this swiftly but carefully, as you do not want to injure yourself in the pursuit!

If the roof containing the nest is harder to locate or is risky to approach, you may choose to place the youngster in a place higher off the ground and not inclined. Also, pick one that is relatively near the nest so that the parents can spot or see it while it is hidden.

If the baby gull is extremely small, make sure it is not exposed to the point where a cat, a dog, or a larger bird thinks it is an easy target.

 

Call the Local Wildlife Authority

If, for whatever reason, you fail to locate the nest, and the parents do not come for their child, you should call your local wildlife authority immediately.

Also, if the bird is too small, you might need to provide them with warmth as they are unable to create their own heat. But try not to bring the child into the house as the parent might come back.

While you wait for the authority to arrive, you can also try feeding the chick. Seagulls are omnivores, so you really do not need to worry about what to feed them as long as it is not highly processed or inedible. What you need to pay attention to is if the food chunk is soft enough. You can even try drenching the pieces in water.

5 Fun Facts about Seagulls
  1. Seagulls can drink both saltwater and freshwater as there is a salt filter near their nose
  2. When the chicks grow a bit older, seagulls form a small nursery of younglings so that they can play and learn from the adults
  3. Seagulls preserve energy by flying over warm roads or bridges so that they can absorb heat from the roadways
  4. According to native Americans, seagulls are a sign of freedom, adaptability, and carefree-ness
  5. Once in Utah, seagulls helped a whole village of Mormon farmers overcome a massive cricket plague

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to baby seagulls, most people have a few typical questions. These frequently asked questions about these adorable baby seagulls may be of use to you.

 

  • What are some common predators for seagull chicks?

Canines like foxes or the weasel family are some of the most common gull chick predators. Sometimes, if the chick is very small, they might be preyed on by cats as well.

  • Can a baby seagull attack me?

Well, no, a baby seagull might be curious about you and other humans, but it is very rare for them to attack you outright. However, do not take this as an open invitation to approach a gull chick, as the parents are usually nearby and will attack you if they feel threatened.

  • How to check a baby seagull’s age?

The most straightforward way to tell the difference between a fledgling and an adult is to examine the feathers. Some of the feathers on beginners are mottled, whereas the feathers on adolescents are uniform in color.

  • What to do about the seagull nest on my roof?

While we understand it can get annoying to hear a baby cry throughout the day, you cannot legally remove the nest in all parts of the world. Keep your roof clean and have wide lines of sight, and there will not be any nests on your roof. If you do find yourself in this tricky situation, consult the local wildlife authority. 

 

Let’s Wrap it Up

We hope that now that you are aware of everything there is to know about baby seagulls, you will be able to appreciate how unusual and exciting their lives are the next time you come across one. Baby seagulls will most certainly make your next trip to the beach a memorable one.

Yes, adult seagulls do have a tendency to steal goodies from tourists, but they are still an essential part of the seaside lifestyle and should be overlooked as a minor nuisance. Both for visitors and for residents. Enjoy your next beach trip

By Nathan Moy

Hi, Nathan Moy is the founder and CEO of Birdmoy.com . Im passionate about nature and I use this site as a platform to share my experiences, learnings, mistakes, and ideas about birding and nature.

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