Dances with Seagulls

August 1, 2015 • 4:45 pm

Did this guy teach a seagull to dance, or did this seagull teach a guy to give him food?

The story is over here.



The little pattering feet are immensely cute, but personally I think the seagull isn’t so much dancing as saying, “Get on with it! Food! Me!”


Then again, the Skinner Pigeon Experiment showed that birds can be coaxed into all sorts of weird behavior for food.

Hat-tip: Gina

15 thoughts on “Dances with Seagulls

  1. The seagull looks like a wind up toy!

    I think the man sounds evil. He is some sort of seagull tyrant.

    1. Being un-enamoured of seagulls, I don’t in the least mind persecuting them.

      But that seagull has quite definitely learned that pattering its feet produces food!


  2. There was a cartoon in the New Yorker decades ago of one mouse saying to another “I really have this psychologist conditioned. Everytime I press this lever, he gives me cheese”

  3. Some future evolutionary behaviorist will be spinning a fine “just so” story to explain the selective advantage for seagulls of pattering their feet before eating.

  4. I’ve seen seagulls exhibiting this foot pattering behaviour on seaweed covered rocks, presumably to scare out crabs and the like to eat. So it might be associated with food in the seagull’s mind to start with!

    1. Right – I believe they also use the pattering on grassed areas to flush out worms. So, whil the lawn is not the original habitat of gulls, they’ve found that it works there and keep at it.

      1. Seaweed and grass seem much kinder on the poor seagull’s pattering feet than the asphalt seen in the video. I sure hope he’s got good, protective calluses.

  5. That looks suspiciously like a pub car park. That, the late night setting, and the bag of chips (French fries in American) tells an eloquent story to me.
    My last couple of jaunts to the sub-tropics, for work and for pleasure, showed many more pigeons inhabiting the “sky rat” niche on Sicily and Gran Canaria than seagulls, which sounds a bit peculiar. Is it only these temperate northern climes where we get both sky rats simultaneously? I’d never noticed on my previous visits to the tropics, though I’ll be observing more closely in future.

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