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Re: Laughing Gull Attacked

Years ago I went to an Outer Banks, NC, restaurant called "RV's", in or near
Nags Head. It had a neat catwalk over a pond out to a gazebo-like bar. In
the water below were tame snapping turtles, used to being fed by the
restaurant patrons. Also sharing the channel were some very wary adult
Mallards. One of the waitresses told me that the snapping turtles would
attack the Mallards from below, thus the wariness.

Patrick Coin
Durham, NC

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nathan M. Bacheler" <nmbachel@unity.ncsu.edu>
To: <carolinabirds@duke.edu>
Cc: "salinda daley" <salinda.daley@ncwildlife.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 7:52 AM
Subject: Laughing Gull Attacked

> Hello everyone-
> Yesterday, as I drove by a small retaining pond near my workplace in
> Morehead City, NC, I noticed a Laughing Gull flapping its wings
> violently on the surface of the water. I assumed that it had a broken
> wing, and pulled over in hopes of bringing it to an animal shelter. Upon
> closer inspection, however, both of its wings seemed to be fine. It
> looked as if one of its legs was caught by something in the water. Maybe
> it caught itself on a fishing hook, perhaps?  Then I saw something
> attached to its left leg.
> It was a snapping turtle.
> The turtle was approx 10" long, and was holding the bird's leg just
> below its body. My question is this: I realize a large snapping turtle
> could make a quick meal out of a duckling or similarly small-sized bird,
> but could a relatively small turtle such as the one I observed really
> kill a full-sized adult laughing gull. It seemed like the bird would be
> too difficult to drown, and as soon as the turtle let go of the birds
> leg (which, admittedly, could be hours), the bird could easily escape if
> it wasn't completely tired out. Does anyone have any similar stories, or
> know more about snapping turtle predation upon birds?
> I took a couple of pictures, but then let nature take its course.  I saw
> no laughing gull carcass the next morning.  If you would like to see  a
> couple of the images, let me know - I can email them to you.
> Nate Bacheler
> Morehead City, NC