On the Origins and Temperament of the Semi-Domesticated Seagull

This morning, Ethan and I woke up to the summery sound of the seagulls behind our house. Which should be odd, because Utah is a landlocked state. It led us to ponder: what brings the seagulls here?

Pixar seagulls

The fast answer: the dumpster of the pizza place on the other side of the fence. But what brings seagulls to Utah in the first place?

According to Mormon legend, the seagulls arrived in the nick of time to eat a plague of locusts that were destroying the settlers’ crops.

According to Wikipedia, sometimes there are just inland types of gulls.

But that’s not nearly as interesting as assuming it happened the same way as in Arachnophobia. I submit that sometime back in the 1800’s, a research team in Venezuela found some crazy-intense, militant breed of pigeon, one of them snuck into a backpack, ate the crew’s entire food supply, and then was transported to Salt Lake City, unbeknownst to the scientists. There, it mated with a city pigeon, and a plague of soldier birds was born.

Thus began the Salt Lake seagull.

seagull attack

There’s a noticeable difference between seagulls and their smaller, tamer cousin, the pigeon. I’ve decided that living in a city with pigeons is like living with 5 single guys. Guy comes home, there’s a donut on the counter. Looks around. “Is this somebody’s donut?” Asks some people. Nobody knows. Alright, then. No dibs. I’ll eat it.

Living in a city with seagulls, on the other hand, is like living with 12,000 grade-school bullies, all of whom have the ability to fly. Comes home, sees a guy eating a donut, punches the guy in the gut, takes the donut, and screams triumphantly, fleeing the scene and trying to keep the donut away from the cronies close behind.

I knew an intern at Ellis Island who had a hot dog taken out of the bun, midair, by a dive-bombing seagull.

seagull sign

While serving as a missionary, I knew another missionary who had given permission for a camera crew to follow him around and make a sort of documentary about mission life. We were at the Statue of Liberty one day when his French cameraman, Fabio (I kid you not, his name was Fabio) was suddenly attacked by a seagull the size of a small Rottweiler. The bird seemed intent on pecking the man’s kneecaps off to get at his sandwich. Fabio, terrified, was backed up against – and then onto – a 4-foot wall, after running in circles from the beast. Naturally, we laughed instead of offering to help. There is no help against a determined seagull.

I think it’s high time we face reality: Alfred Hitchcock was right all along. The seagulls are plotting a takeover. And while we’re all distracted by zombie propaganda, we’re ignoring the real threat. I’m stocking up on bird seed, rat poison, and golf clubs. And if Ethan will let me, I’m buying a Golden Retriever. When those gulls come, we’ll be ready. ♦

seagull vampire


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