What The Hell, Seagull?

I saw a seagull today. I realize that is not an unusual observation for many. People always see them at the beach. After all, that’s where they belong. So, why the hell are they flying around my local Walmart’s parking lot? In West Virginia.

I came to Fairmont to go to college in 1974 and there were a few seagulls in the Middletown Mall parking lot. I was confused then and I am confused now. They have no business being in the mountains of West Virginia. That is against the laws of nature. Why, that would be like seeing a polar bear on a Miami beach, a rattle snake crawling along in the Arctic, or a moose hanging out in Central Park. So, after going through more “animals out of their element” scenarios, I decided I needed to learn more about seagulls and why they are in Fairmont, West Virginia. We only have streams and rivers. And they aren’t even cool rivers, like the Columbia…..or the mighty Mississippi. No, my seagulls are near the Tygart and the West Fork Rivers. There is no sand, no waves, no crabs to peck at. Why, oh why, are they flying above me in the freaking Walmart parking lot? The search was on.

Many people are perplexed as well. A woman wrote from Iowa about seeing seagulls in her Kmart parking lot. Many other land-locked puzzled people were wondering the same thing. Is it a migration route? And if so, where the hell are they coming from or going to in Iowa? That makes no sense at all. Iowa is too far away. And a blogging friend informed me that the seagull is the state bird of Utah. Utah!  Seems that years and years ago locusts were eating a lot of crops and all of a sudden seagulls appeared and ate the locust. The Mormons saw that as a sign and the next thing you know, they’ve got a state bird. Apparently, the seagulls in that state like the brine in the Great Salt Lake.

Maybe the seagulls think West Virginia is part of Virginia. They, afterall, have Virginia Beach, seagull capital of a small stretch of beach. There are a lot of geographically challenged people out there who think West Virginia is western Virginia. Maybe the seagulls think the same.

Years ago, near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, people thought they saw a strange flying “thing” that was dubbed Mothman. Hysteria reigned in that small Ohio River town for many years afterwards. Mothman supposedly had red eyes, a large wingspan and could pick up a German Shephard and carry it off. There is even a statue to Mothman and a Mothman festival. But, a wildlife biologist said all along it was a sandhill crane,  a large American crane almost as high as a man with a seven foot wingspan featuring red circles around its eyes. He said  the bird may have wandered out of its migration route.

I guess not all birds know what the hell they are doing. Sure, Canadian geese flaunt their knowledge of their ABC’s by flying in a V formation. They fly south for the winter. Well, they used to until they decided that since these silly Americans are  feeding them, they’d just stay all year long. We can’t get rid of them or their trail of slimy algae green poop.

So, maybe my Walmart seagull got lost on his way to Bora Bora or Aruba or where ever they fly on their migration route. I had no idea there were so many varieties of gulls. All I know is that they can attack. I know this because I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Tippi Hedren got pecked in the forehead by one.

In the end, I guess I feel sorry for the seagull who is living at the Walmart parking lot. Where does he sleep at night? Sitting on a light pole can’t be fun. Doesn’t he miss the sound of the ocean waves lulling him to sleep?  And if he doesn’t leave, will the crows let him hang out with them? They are usually a tight group, not making friends easily.

I did just read that we may be confused by their name, as it implies the “sea.” Someone wrote there is no such thing as a “sea” gull.  Gulls can adapt inland. Well, then maybe their name should change. Canadian geese are no longer Canadian….. Hermit crabs are quite social……a teddy bear hamster is not a damn teddy bear……

and a jumbo shrimp is not a big little thing. Whoever is naming animals is on drugs.


8 responses to this post.

  1. And I thought it was just where I live!!! I can remember back in the 80’s when I was a teenager going to the coast for holidays, and waking up on the first morning and hearing the strange sound of seagulls – reminding me before my eyes were even open that I was not at home! But about seven years ago on hot summer early evening, I was having a little snooze an hour or two before my evening meal (I’d had a very tiring hot day!) and in my semi sleep I heard seagulls squawking through the open window! I thought I had been dreaming – but no, they were moving into the city – sounds very Alfred Hitchcock! I thought for a few years it was to do with a lack of people visiting the coastal areas because of rainy summers, but I’m not so sure now, because they seem to be life long residents! And I keep hearing everyone else is having seagulls move in their area too. And I am very surprised to hear it is happening elsewhere in the world – I thought it was just a quirky British seagull thing!

    In my city they line up on a hotel roof that overlooks the river and sit and stare at the water – which is what they would do when they live in a coastal area, they stare out to sea, a bit like those dark suited angels in the City Of Angels film – poor things!
    Suzy 😀


    • Love this! Thanks for writing about the seagulls. I was told that it was wrong for someone to put the “sea” in front of gulls because they are not just a shore bird. Well, I think it is weird. Gulls do not belong in my WV Walmart parking lot..lol


  2. Whoever naming things IS on drugs. But this is the weirdest seagull fact of all. A seagull is the state bird of UTAH! It’s true: http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/Utah/bird_ca_gull.html


  3. i always see them in mall parking lots, circling, or sitting on the tall light poles and wondering why. perhaps because the wide expanse of gray parking is like an asphalt sea….? .or the allure french fries and hamburger buns from Mickey-D’s ….


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