This morning, I was reading an article about seagulls at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” site. Many people dislike seagulls, and it’s true that they can come off as obnoxious beach pigeons.
But if you can look past their propensity to snatch a Dorito out of your hand and shit all over your car and instead focus on their social behavior, seagulls display some admirable traits, including the ability to learn to ignore the hysterical morons within their colonies:
[Nobel Prize-winning animal behavior researcher Nikolaas] Tinbergen observed that Herring Gulls also learn which individuals are worth paying attention to. He noted that they ignore alarm calls from individuals they know to be skittish, but freak out when trusted neighbors utter a sound.
So even among seagulls, there are Chicken Littles, and the wiser gulls learn to pay them no mind. There’s a lesson here for us flightless creatures, who will be exposed to a constant barrage of “SKREE! SKREE! SKREE!” for the next few months. We all get to choose what kind of gull we want to be.