Gulls and a Sea Star

On a trip to Magic Island last February, I noticed a young gull working on a small sunstar (Pycnopodia helianthoides).

It didn’t seem too excited about it, but picked at the legs, and then didn’t seem too excited about eating them.

At one point an adult gull came over and checked out what was going on. At first I thought maybe the adult would take the food from the juvenile. (Gulls often seem competitive about food, but maybe that’s just some sorts of food, as I have to admit I’ve never actually seen them fight over sea stars.)

I was a little surprised to see the juvenile begging from the adult shortly after it wandered over. (Notice sea star leg ignored on the beach behind them.) I tend to think of gulls as being pretty much completely on their own by their first winter, but maybe that is not entirely the case. I wonder whether the adult was this one’s parent, or the juvenile was not picky about the adult, and just wanted something better to eat than a sea star leg.

The sea star ended up a few legs short, but it should be able to grow those back, I think.

I set it right side up where it wasn’t being constantly tossed by the waves coming in, and it seemed to slowly start moving out into deeper water.

Leave a Reply