There are several species of birds that practice kleptoparasitism, parasitism by theft. They include Eagles, Corvids (Crows, Ravens, etc.) and, most famously, Gulls. Gulls will grab anything that they can, from anyone or anything they can. Kleptoparasitism is rightly called piracy. And anyone who follows this blog knows that I believe that all good stories involve pirates. This is the first good story for 2022.
First, this is the pirate. Ring-billed Gulls are the smallest common gull in New England.
Don’t let their size fool you. Here is one that I photographed in Texas that was trying to snatch a meal from an Osprey.
The Osprey had to take his catch and fly off to another spot to eat in peace.
The target in this story is a Belted Kingfisher.
A few of us were looking for ducks and other birds in and along the Merrimack River this morning. I am always scanning for activity and noticed a gull and a small bird flying down the river at high speed and starting shooting. These are some photos of the action. The Ring-billed Gull was after the fish that the Belted Kingfisher had caught. The Kingfisher is really fast as you can see from the sequence as it pulls away from the gull. It managed to escape with his meal while the Gull turned back and looked for another victim among the ducks that were feeding in the river.
It’s always exciting for me when I capture birds in action. Hope you all enjoy the story!