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Seagull attacking young birds (1 Viewer)


New member
We recently moved to a flat with a view over roofs nearby. Two or three weeks ago a seagull (perhaps a pair?) built a nest nearby and we have a good view. The mother sat on her eggs for a while and then three little chicks appeared.

We've enjoyed watching them but were horrified this morning to see what at first I thought was the father on the flat roof. Suddenly this seagull started to peck at the chicks ... it was horrible to see. Between the pecks this bird opened its beak and obviously made a loud cry. (I couldn't hear it but it was obviously a cry.)

There were two of these gulls ... perhaps not the father and mother. But only one was being aggressive. Later the mother returned. One of the chicks seems to be in a bad shape (may even be dead?) but the mother doesn't pay much attention.

So what was going on? Surely it wasn't the father. Was the other seagulls taking advantage of the mother's absence? Is this behaviour commonplace? I don't know anything about birds and would appreciate comments.

Thanks in advance.

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Mostly in the Midlands :)
United Kingdom
If they were Herring Gulls, they will quite often attack chicks, I’m afraid!


New member
Thanks for the reply and the info.
Yes, I guess they are herring gulls as we're on the south coast of England.
It's not clear enough to see now but earlier the mother was back on the nest sitting on top of the two uninjured chicks. The injured one had moved to a point right by the nest but is, alas, not being kept warm.
It's raining and I fear the worst.


New member
Yes, the 3rd chick died at some time during the night. But hope that someone can enlighten us about the following:

1) When do herring gull chicks first fly? (The two survivors already - after less than a week - run up and down on the flat roof flapping their tiny wings?)

2) I only see one gull on the roof - the mother. Does the father play a role? If he'd been around when the 3rd chick was attacked, he might have been able to fight off the assailant.

3) A gull sits on a chimney pot overlooking the roof - I suspect this is the mother. Could it be the father?

4) Is it possible from afar to determine the sex of a herring gull?

Thanks in advance for comments.



New member
Thank you for the reply and the link to further information.

The two surviving chicks have taken to crying with their beaks open and pointed skywards .. crying for food. I really don't know whether both parents are in attendance. One gull is now often sitting on a chimney pot with a view over the two chicks and the nest, which is on a flat, lead roof.

The dead chick lay on the roof for a couple of weeks but has now disappeared ... I think that a scavenging bird (crow?) must have eaten it. There was a black bird hopping around on the roof this morning but the chicks and the parent didn't take any notice.


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