Can You Pet a Gull?
Most people consider birds to be among the most beautiful of animals. However, they also tend to have a certain wildness and freedom. Gulls, a family of common seabirds, share many of these qualities as they soar around, catching the wind. But can you go one step further and pet a gull?
The answer, unfortunately, is “No.” Wild animals, including wild birds, should not be approached, particularly by humans. Gulls, like all wild animals, will be wary of human contact, and could react aggressively to being touched. Although the temptation may be there, it’s best to remember that wild animals are, well, wild.
Interacting With Gulls
That said, it is possible to get quite close to a gull without making physical contact. Even though these animals remain wild, they may not fly away if you come close.
With patience and gentleness, it may be possible to get both close enough and comfortable enough with a gull to get an extremely close view of it—possibly even close enough to notice the details of its feathers. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to have a short conversation with this amazing seabird.
Gulls often nest in rooftop gutters, in piles of brushwood, or even nest in trees beside houses. If you have a gull as a neighbor and want to interact with it, mild behavior is key. Don’t act aggressively, make sudden movements, or startle the bird. Move quietly and carefully, and extend an open palm containing a few bits of birdseed. If the gull shows no fear and begins to move closer, then you’re on the right track.
Challenges of Petting a Gull
For many people, petting a gull may seem like a magical experience. While there may be some temporary euphoria associated with such an experience due to the novelty of the situation, it’s also important to remember that wild gulls should remain wild.
Gulls may not enjoy being petted, even if they seem to come close without fear. For example, if you’ve managed to gently offer a few flakes of grain to a gull and the bird ate it, don’t follow the gull around and try to touch it. This will only make the bird more wary of humans.
Gulls, like most wild animals, may also have various parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites. Even if your goal is to develop a close relationship with the bird, it’s important to remember that a human-gull interaction should never include physical contact of any kind.
The Benefits of Observing Gulls
Of course, not every interaction with a wild bird needs to be a hands-on experience. Gulls are capable of many tricks and can be quite entertaining to watch. By putting enough distance between yourself and the gulls, it’s possible to observe and appreciate the beauty of these birds from a distance.
Gulls are amazing animals in the sense that they can make life close to shore both beautiful and interesting. Whilst it’s still probably best not to get too close, it’s still worth looking at and learning about these incredible birds. After all, animals that remain wild should remain that way.
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