Walking home yesterday, I felt agitated by the overheard remark of a stranger to his young daughter that ‘seagulls are just rats with wings,’ followed by, ‘they should all be shot.’
Such off hand, unfounded statements are ones that serve as the basis of collective mentality, often derogatory to animals that are intelligent and densely populated as a result.
Since the ‘survival of the fittest’ is a go to argument for many omnivores, it’s a wonder humans don’t respect other species that thrive by this notion especially since birds have been knocking around since the Jurassic period!
Seagulls can be a bit noisy, a bit there, I’m not denying that. But face it, they’re part of a coastal environment and they were here first.
If coastal businesses are going to ply tourists with tomes of greasy chips and battered everything so they can make lots of money at the expense of holidayer’s health and that of under pressure NHS workers (sorry Brexit etc), then expect seagulls to also be there.
And those screeches by the way are actually an incredibly complex series of calls that include certain body movements to relay different messages. But to the ignorant human of course it’s just a whole lot of noise interrupting said dancing sugar plums or candied apples, whatever.
Further to my anomalous ranting, I’ve Googled some facts that other clever people have researched and written, re animals us apes with poles up our ass, seem to have unfounded animosity towards. Enjoy!
Seagull Moms and Dads mate for life and take turns to incubate eggs and keep watch over their young.
According to one site, seagulls have learned that to preserve energy levels, they can hover over bridges and absorb rising heat, kind of like humans using radiators I guess!
When the young are hungry, they peck a special mark on the adult gull’s bill causing them to regurgitate their food for the offspring to eat-yum!
In Native America, the seagull represents a care free attitude, versatility and freedom. I think people can learn a lot from said winged rodents!
Grey squirrels also receive a bad rap- probably because they’re not as pretty as their red cousins who they supposedly killed off (it was all kinds of factors e.g deforestation, disease).
Squirrels can swim (unsure why but I find that adorable)!
Squirrels are very trusting animals, and are of the very few wild animal species which will eat out of a person’s hand, aaaw!
Squirrels run in erratic paths to deceive potential predators!
They prepare for the winter months by storing nuts and seeds in different locations, returning to them when food is no longer immediately available. They even put on convincing displays of burying food to deceive hungry onlookers, before scurrying off to bury their goods elsewhere!
Their tail is also a signalling device!
In Native America, the squirrel represents preparation, trust and thriftiness.
Some of the more spiritual of us might interpret squirrels as a sign to begin saving, or preparing for difficult times ahead.
You can read a very informative and convincing argument for grey squirrels from The Guardian, no less, here.
And what about wasps? Wrongly so, wasps are regarded as the villainous counterparts to their honey producing relatives. Here’s why we should try and forgive them.
They provide a pest control service, feeding smaller bugs to their offspring.
They provide wild yeast! Researchers in Florence recently discovered certain species carry yeast in their belly from grapes which they later deposit on the grapes before they return to feed on them!
Similarly to bees, wasps also pollinate flowers and plants, preserving the eco-systems of our flora and fauna which some of us like to eat!
A male wasp is called a drone, his job is to mate with the queen. Once this is over the wasp meets his untimely end- pretty unfair if you ask me!
If you assassinate a wasp, it will release a pheromone in the air to alert his buddies who will then come and assist- so put simply, don’t!!
Wasps invented paper! Yep- they assemble their nest from chewed up wood- think about it and cut them some slack!
I was going to write about rats here, but I know many already have soft spots for the wrongly accused black plague mobiles (psst it was the humans)- so instead I’ve just read some really mind-blowing facts about pigeons- I knew I liked them!
Both male and female pigeons secrete ‘milk’ from the lining of the crop (located between its throat and stomach) to feed their young.
I’m sure many of us have heard of pigeon post- they have exceptional navigational skills using the sun and an ‘internal magnetic compass in order to find their way home. Pigeons have been used for messenger services since ancient times by Julius Caesar to aid his conquests and by Greeks to deliver results of the Olympic games!
Pigeons can recognise themselves in the mirror!
They can distinguish between human letters of the alphabet!
Pigeons are revered in certain religions particularly in that of Sikhism, since a high priest fed them and regarded them as friends.
Often regarded as ‘vermin,’ pigeons are actually very clean birds and there is not much evidence to suggest they are rampant disease transmitters.
I hope you’ll reconsider any negative feelings towards the above creatures, all special in their own way- just like us!
You can read more amazing facts about almost any creature (it seems) from the animal campaigning charity OneKind, here!