Our northern summer house used to belong to DHH’s grandparents. In the days of no public garbage collection The Grandmother put the food scraps on a rock outside the kitchen window for the seagulls to collect. This tradition is very much kept alive by the present generation of owners – and the present generation of seagulls.
They still get the leftover potatoes, fishbone and pasta sauce, and they come to get it in large numbers. Many people do not appreciate seagulls, but DHH does. It has mainly to do with his obsession with taking pictures. Seagulls are big enough to fill the frame when you have a decent zoom lens, and they are slow enough to let themselves be caught in flight. And they are actually quite beautiful, dressed elegantly in black and white as they are, just like his favorite Norwegian soccer team.
They are not very friendly however, and not at all with each other. Wings are being pulled, eyes are being bitten and warnings are being shouted when somebody thinks that somebody else is coming to close to his or her food. Seagulls come in various species, and the big Blacktail behaves like a mobster from the Chicago backstreets if a smaller specimen as much as thinks about joining the party. What we have here is the survival of the fattest. Darwin would have loved to watch.
There is a family story of The Aunt who came across the nest of a smaller seagull well hidden in the grass not far from the house. The mother bird was carefully hiding her chicks, and The Aunt threw some fish scraps down close by the nest so the mother could eat without having to go too far. This was immediately spotted by the Blacktails, however. They swarmed down like vultures, wolfed down the meal meant for the smaller cousin, and while they were at it they also scared off the mother and ate her offspring. The Aunt, when visiting, now stands by the rock outside the kitchen trying to scare the big ones away while inviting the smaller ones to come closer, but she has not really had much luck. The big one always wins at the end.
DHH however, has long time realized that he has no control over who comes to the party. He just serves the snacks, takes position with his Canon and his 400mm Bazooka, and shoots at anyone who cares to join. He has had much more luck with his project that The Aunt with hers, and some of the results you can see here.