By Fouad Itani
Gulls are small to large seabirds of the Laridae family, many of which also live inland. They have heavy bodies with long slim wings, long necks, long bills, and webbed feet. Gulls can fly exceptionally well and they also swim buoyantly and posses strong legs, which give them reasonably good mobility on the ground. Their colors vary between white, grey, black and brown. They range in size between 30 and 75cm and in weight between 120 and 1800g.
Gulls are best known as being scavengers they’re often seen in large, noisy flocks congregating wherever food is available, specially around fishing boats and garbage dumps. They are also known to consume a wide variety of food that includes fish, invertebrates, insects, earthworms, rodents, eggs, carrion, reptiles, amphibians, plant material, and birds. Gulls can drink both salt water and fresh water, as they possess exocrine glands that excretes salt through the nostrils which help the kidneys in maintaining electrolyte balance. Gulls are mostly colonial ground nesters, they nest in large packed noisy colonies. They lay two to three speckled creamy eggs in nests composed of vegetation and seaweeds.
Many people consider the gull to be a nuisance, but they actually perform a very valuable service to us by scavenging up great numbers of organic litter, human refuse , and dead animals which could pose a health threat to humans.
Fourteen species of gulls occur in Lebanon to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. As per the Lebanese hunting law all fourteen species of gulls are non-game birds. Shooting these birds is both criminal and illegal.
SPNL asks Lebanese authorities to Stop mindless tyranny aimed at innocent seagulls.
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