posted in: Miscellaneous | 7

“On 28th December 2012, a breeding colony of Red-billed Gulls (Larus scopulinus) was encountered along steep, chalky cliffs at Shag Point, South Island, New Zealand (above).

“The dedicated parents were looking after their well grown chicks (above). Each gull family unit had either one or two chicks, no more. Perhaps there was an instruction by a higher authority that ‘two is enough’ LINK.”

Dr Leong Tzi Ming
17th February 2013

7 Responses

  1. Am

    I don’t know about any “higher authority”, but this seems to suggest that the gulls somehow know about overcrowding. If the colony gets too big, quality of life will severely diminish, as is being observed in Singapore & HK society today. Further reading on the consequences of overpopulation: John B Calhoun’s mice universe study (google it). I was already going to comment that the rocks in the topmost picture are almost totally covered with bird faeces – can’t be a good thing, and perhaps the birds know this and feel that if they allow the colony to expand indefinitely, life will become worse?

      • Dan

        Pretty obvious that there will be big problem with the amount of poo generated due to an overcrowded environment. It’s the same for nature and for humans.

        I think most of us are not comfortable with the current overcrowded environment in Singapore. The plan for more in the white paper will defintely add more stress and strain to our society. I dread the day when we are left with nothing to admire for nature.

        • Am

          Re nature here in S’pore – I believe there were 2 petitions in the past year to the government to not develop 2 different sites in Pasir Ris, and a meeting with the relevant MP was held for one of these petitions. But even though there was substantial protest, the government has gone ahead with its development plans. I can’t help but feel that whatever we do as citizens do is of no use, once the government has made up its mind, which is extremely disheartening.

          • YC

            To a certain extent I agree with you… But in Pasir Ris and related issues, I beg to differ. More than 2 decades of direct involvement with Nature Society and its lobby groups, I finally see the real situation – the shallowness of the birdwatchers associated with the NS. Pasir Ris is an area unworthy of conservation – in any sense of the word. I will deal with this in a separate post soon. The resident groups may have been ill-advised by NS who, I suspect, was outsourcing its interests to others.

      • Am

        They already know it. I think they can’t come up with an alternative plan to not having 6.9 mil though, because if our population growth stalls, so will our economy, and the government is afraid it can no longer maintain the precious GDP figures it so holds in high regard.

        The birds are luckier than us humans in this respect – they have freedom of movement (so they can go elsewhere and start new colonies once the present colony grows too big), and they have freedom of will (no one dictates how big/small their population must be). Whereas as humans, not every one of us has the means to migrate to other lands, nor do we have any say over our target population size.

        There will be severe competition over resources in the near future. As it is already, queues are everywhere and I see people getting up earlier or going home later to beat traffic, or eating at odd times just so they don’t have to wait for a table. Many people I know now refuse to go out on weekends so as to avoid crowds. Lifestyle compromises are being made, in other words. Heterosexual coupling among the native population has decreased, as has birth rate. Every aspect of the mice study by Calhoun parallels what is transpiring in SG and HK right now. And if the end-result of the mice study is an indicator of what will eventually happen in our own society, I am afraid that the future is grim.

  2. louise burns

    Thinking that 2 chicks were not unusual so googled Cornell…
    “The third chick in a Herring Gull clutch can have it especially tough. While the first two chicks hatch the same day, the third is born a day or two later, weighs less, gets less food, and grows more slowly.”
    PS re early post about dropping shells; one of the truly fun things to watch on the Atlantic are gulls dropping and pouncing on clam shell

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