© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
Ring-billed gulls, and “the circle of life”
(a Camera Critters post)
click any photo to see the bigger version in Flickr
Earlier this week, I posted a photo of shore birds feasting upon some scallops that had been stranded by the tide. I realized that I didn’t know what the birds were called, so I went through some recent photos to see if I could find a close up. Here’s a shot from early in January, and according to my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida, this is a ring-billed gull. You can see that there is, indeed, a ring around his yellow bill. According to Audubon, this bird migrates north for the summer, but non-breeders will probably stick around here.
Last week, when my friend Kim and I were at the beach, we encountered a pile of shells that had been tossed up onto the shore by the tide. As we pawed through the pile for treasures, we found many scallops had been stranded with the empties. Some were still alive, as evidenced by their nervous chattering as we came near. Yes, they do that thing that you see them do in the old cartoons – they open and shut rapidly, trying to scare us away with the clatter, I guess. Usually, when I find a live one, I will endeavor to place it back in the water. But then I began to notice that humans aren’t the only ones interested in a pile of shells.
The ring-billed gulls were feasting! And here I thought, with all the hubris and inflated sense of importance that a human can muster, that we were doing the scallops a favor by giving them a “second chance”. It’s not really a carnage that humans need to “fix” (oh, we are such fixers, we humans, aren’t we?). As often happens, it dawned upon me in the lyrics:
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life…
Yeah, I did. I burst into song. I think Kim laughed at me, but I don’t mind. If you’re embarrassed 😳 by people who are prone to bursting into song, don’t go shelling with me 😆 . The point is, the scallops had found “their place on the path unwinding”. It was right there, on the beach, waiting for a ring-billed gull to come along and decide it looked tasty.
The scallops, they have their purpose. They don’t have to think about it, or struggle to discover what it is they are meant to do. The Circle Of Life just kind of takes care of that for them. Not so much for us humans. We often struggle to find our place. For many of us, it’s not all that clear what we are meant to do with our lives.
Sometimes, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be when I grow up. If “when I grow up” should ever happen, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.
- Cornell University has a cool bird site, with sound samples. Click here if you want to hear ring-billed gulls laughing (it opened Quicktime for me; your mileage may vary!).
- Download The Circle of Life MP3 file from Disney’s THE LION KING, performed by Elton John. Amazon also has DVDs of the film and its sequels, the entire film soundtrack (CD or MP3 download), and my personal favorite, the original Broadway production sountrack.
- My previous Camera Critters posts
- Visit other Camera Critters participants