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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 12:28   #1
Wildmoreway
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Black Headed Gulls chasing and catching Turnstones

I was at Preston Sands near Paignton yesterday, there were a lot of Turnstones present and I noticed that often as they took flight out over the sea they were pursued by BH Gulls, in one case I saw a BH gull catch a turnstone and then fly off with it. This was not something that I was shocked or surprised by but it is not something that I have either seen or have heard mentioned before.
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 15:32   #2
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Possibly an injured bird? I would think a fit Turnstone could easily outrun a BHG! I did watch BHG's going after a Little Auk a few years back but the LA was so tiny in comparison, so it was probably a case of opportunistic behaviour (bullying b*stards I thought at the time!)
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 17:33   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentbloke View Post
Possibly an injured bird? I would think a fit Turnstone could easily outrun a BHG! I did watch BHG's going after a Little Auk a few years back but the LA was so tiny in comparison, so it was probably a case of opportunistic behaviour (bullying b*stards I thought at the time!)
I don't think it was an injured bird, I just think the the BH Gull got lucky, the fact that the BH Gulls seemed all be trying it suggests to me that they had done it in the past and that the effort was worthwhile to them.

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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 17:40   #4
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Originally Posted by speckled wood View Post
This was not something that I was shocked or surprised by but it is not something that I have either seen or have heard mentioned before.
Sounds unusual to me - GBBGulls would've been more likely.

Did you really see a Black-headed Gull catch a Turnstone in flight and fly off with it?
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 17:50   #5
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Did you really see a Black-headed Gull catch a Turnstone in flight and fly off with it?
That is what I have just said, and that is what I saw. There were several BH Gulls at it and usually two or three chasing single turnstones, so the turnstones that were being chased were having to try to evade more than one BH Gull at once.

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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 18:14   #6
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Possibly an injured bird? I would think a fit Turnstone could easily outrun a BHG! I did watch BHG's going after a Little Auk a few years back but the LA was so tiny in comparison, so it was probably a case of opportunistic behaviour (bullying b*stards I thought at the time!)
A turnstone isn't all that much bigger than a Little Auk, and it was certainly opportunistic behaviour.
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 19:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speckled wood View Post
That is what I have just said, and that is what I saw. There were several BH Gulls at it and usually two or three chasing single turnstones, so the turnstones that were being chased were having to try to evade more than one BH Gull at once.
Yes, sorry if that sounded as doubting as it reads!

Still a bit surprised that you weren't surprised though, if you know what I mean*. Maybe someone with a BWP can look up BH Gull and prey items - a quick google search doesn't really indicate them being that predatory beyond invertebrates etc.



*(Obviously you must have been a bit surprised? Otherwise you wouldn't have posted the sighting on here?)

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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 19:26   #8
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Quote:
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Yes, sorry if that sounded as doubting as it reads!

Still a bit surprised that you weren't surprised though, if you know what I mean*. Maybe someone with a BWP can look up BH Gull and prey items - a quick google search doesn't really indicate them being that predatory beyond invertebrates etc.



*(Obviously you must have been a bit surprised? Otherwise you wouldn't have posted the sighting on here?)
and yet today i watched 2 crows kill a healthy black headed gull

http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.ph...postcount=2522

Edit: and I once saw a Moorhen kill a turnstone!

Cheers, Andy
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 19:34   #9
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Seen BH gulls chasing smaller waders numerous times but usually they are only after what food these waders have found.
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 20:19   #10
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It just didn't surprise me that a BH Gull would kill something if it had the chance and it was potential food, I suppose the BH Gull catching the turnstone was simply a further extension of trying to take food from it. Its just that I have not so far found any mention of other birds as prey items for BH Gulls.

The crows killing a BH Gull if they got the chance would not surprise me. It may be that originally it started out as a tussle over food between a BH Gull and a Crow and the Crow got the upperhand and realised that the Gull was a potential food item, and has done it again.
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 20:34   #11
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Black-headed Gulls do take chicks of other birds but never heard them kill an adult before. I have seen Jackdaws chase smaller waders maybe trying to tire them out?

Crows hav been recorded killing birds upto Lapwing and BH gull size previously.

Moorhen killing a Turnstone? No wonder Coots hate Moorhens!
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 20:38   #12
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Water Rails have been observed catching and eating small passerines such as Greenfinches in harsh winters.

And Turnstones feeding on dead human corpses.

Full circle and anything goes I guess.
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Old Saturday 24th November 2012, 22:18   #13
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Once saw BH Gulls having a good go at trying to catch a storm blown Leachs Storm Petrel but presume it was a somewhat weakened bird.....but it did get away intact
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Old Sunday 25th November 2012, 13:17   #14
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It is not uncommon here for several BHG to pick on a healthy Lapwing till it is exhausted and kill it. As on a previous post I have seen Crows pick on a healthy BHG and kill it.

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Old Sunday 25th November 2012, 23:11   #15
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Really? A Greenfinch is not much smaller than a Water Rail! Shocking!

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Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Water Rails have been observed catching and eating small passerines such as Greenfinches in harsh winters.

And Turnstones feeding on dead human corpses.

Full circle and anything goes I guess.
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Old Sunday 25th November 2012, 23:18   #16
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I always thought that BHG's got on with Lapwings and the only serious Gull predator they had were GBBG's. I have never even heard of Herring or Lesser Blacks killing Lapwings.

I have never seen Crows pick on BHG's but it appears to happen quite a bit judging by others experiences. Crows seem to be more predatory than Ravens at times.

I assume Med Gulls and Common Gulls will be even more predatory due to their larger size than BHG's? On the other hand i have never read or heard about Common Gulls robbing eggs and chicks of other birds.

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It is not uncommon here for several BHG to pick on a healthy Lapwing till it is exhausted and kill it. As on a previous post I have seen Crows pick on a healthy BHG and kill it.

Chris
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Old Monday 26th November 2012, 06:10   #17
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Water Rail is nearly 2x the length, and has a wingspan just over 1.5x that of a Greenfinch, and 5x the mass. That's a quite substantial difference.

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Really? A Greenfinch is not much smaller than a Water Rail! Shocking!
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Old Monday 26th November 2012, 09:38   #18
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I don't think size matters all that much, the Great Grey Shrike is only about the size of blackbird but has been recorded as taking birds as large a Fieldfares. BH Gulls are actually quite agile in flight, my perception is that they are more agile than the larger gulls and if you get two or three of them picking on a single bird as I saw it should not come as any surprise that they might pick on other species of bird. They are opportunist feeders after all.

As to crows I have seen them trying to kill rabbits and on one occasion I have seen a a pair of carrion crows having a go at a very small dog and in that case I think that the dog was being seen as a potential food item (it was certainly a very frightened dog when I rescued it).
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Old Monday 26th November 2012, 10:07   #19
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Moorhen killing a Turnstone? No wonder Coots hate Moorhens!
It was many years ago at Elmley RSPB in Kent. It was in Spring and an adult Turnstone wandered too close to a family party of Moorhen. The young had only recently hatched and the female Moorhen (presumably) felt that the Turnstone was a threat and immediately jumped onto the back of the Turnstone and pecked at the back of its head. As with the B H Gull, the initially blows to the head must have left it too dazed to simply fly off. The attack continued until the Turnstone was out cold. Then, and this is macabre, the Moorhen pushed the Turnstone a few inches so that its head was under water. It then held it there until the bird was certainly dead.

Cheers, Andy.
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Old Monday 26th November 2012, 10:29   #20
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I have watched Coots fighting Coots and Moorhens fighting Moorhens, although the fights look similar the Moorhen fights do seem to go on longer and seem more vicious.
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Old Monday 26th November 2012, 16:29   #21
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I've seen a pair of Coots do this to a Black-headed Gull. They kept leaving it for dead, it would feebly twitch one wingtip, the young Coots would start yelling and the adult Coots went back for another go.

cheers
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It was many years ago at Elmley RSPB in Kent. It was in Spring and an adult Turnstone wandered too close to a family party of Moorhen. The young had only recently hatched and the female Moorhen (presumably) felt that the Turnstone was a threat and immediately jumped onto the back of the Turnstone and pecked at the back of its head. As with the B H Gull, the initially blows to the head must have left it too dazed to simply fly off. The attack continued until the Turnstone was out cold. Then, and this is macabre, the Moorhen pushed the Turnstone a few inches so that its head was under water. It then held it there until the bird was certainly dead.

Cheers, Andy.
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Old Saturday 1st December 2012, 10:27   #22
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At Parkgate (Dee estuary) high tides I have seen BH Gulls pick up a Spotted Crake that was unearthed by the rising tide. They actually flew about ten foot away with it but dropped it. It then swam to the shelter of a stone wall and perched on a crevice safely until the tide dropped.
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Old Thursday 20th December 2012, 23:39   #23
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Birds seem to eat anything - Turnstones here are partial to Herring gull poo.
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