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Let our neighbors “rescue” a dog or cat while comparing themselves to St Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa. Do we care? No! Why? Because they will be eating our dust in the Sensitive Sweepstakes after we adopt our seagull.


Why gulls? Take the Franklin’s Gull, which annually migrates from Canada to the southern part of South America. We know what a hassle flying is. Why not save them the trip and obtain an inexpensive family pet at the same time?


We don’t need to fill out voluminous adoption papers as for dogs and cats, or come up with personal references to please the crazed gate-keepers at animal shelters. And it won’t cost us 300 bucks to neuter and inoculate our feathered friend!


A fun family outing to the beach should be all it takes to secure our forever pet. (Yes, some gulls can live up to forty years or more). Be sure to enlist family members who possess great cardio-pulmonary health and agility. Because that is not us, we will never want to repeat the experience. Hence keep all doors and windows closed in his adoptive home to prevent the flying of the coop.


Those neighbors will go green with envy at the sight of Heathcliff gliding above our living room and roosting on our lighting fixtures! Allow them to bring him snacks – insects and earthworms, eggs, carrion, offal, and human refuse. Reptiles, rodents, even other birds are also fixtures on gull menus. So keep an eye on Polly. Your Norwegian Blue could become a blue plate special.


Gulls provide unique family experiences. They have been observed landing on whales the better to peck out pieces of its flesh. Isn’t this sufficient motivation for Mom and Dad to purchase gym memberships? Yes, domesticated gulls can prolong our lives!


An additional method of obtaining food involves dropping, heavy shells of clams and mussels onto hard surfaces. A family investment in hard hats might well prevent tragedy. Gulls have also been known to drop bread on the surface to bait goldfish. For younger family members to observe this miracle of nature, purchase an aquarium and fill it with them. And by “them”, we mean goldfish, not younger family members. Although it’s really our call, isn’t it?


Juvenile exposure to gruesome aquarium violence will give our kids the reality check necessary to survive in our gull-eat-fish world. And their fighting off the family pet from hi-jacking their toast can become a hilarious exercise in preventing child obesity!


The three to five months of mating season will allow toddlers to observe and contemplate avian sexuality and reproduction, provided we seized the ideal teachable moment regarding the birds and the bees. Hopefully afterwards, Little Johnny realizes that we need to capture a second bird.


But is the capture a Gertrude or a Gary? What an opportunity for them to hone their observational skills! And since gulls display life-time mate fidelity, Heathcliff and Gertrude get to be role models for parents and children alike!


Then comes nesting season. This would be a good time to restrict shredded wheat as a breakfast item. Heathcliff and Gertrude gather nesting material and build the nest, but the division of labor is not always equal. This will provide another life-lesson for our children, particularly the females. Hopefully Gertrude teaches them the value of squawking.


So the adoption of seagulls provides a cornucopia of educational experiences for our families, well worth any minor inconveniences. Successful adoption may lead us to consider other birds, such as the tern, a close relative of the gull. But try that with just one bird at first. If that works out, adopt a mate. For as we know, one good tern deserves another!



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