Topic: Nature and Botanicals
"The Western Gull is currently not considered threatened. However, they have, for a gull, a restricted range. Numbers were greatly reduced in the 19th century by the taking of seabird eggs for the growing city of San Francisco. Western Gull colonies also suffered from disturbance where they were turned into lighthouse stations, or, in the case of Alcatraz, a prison.
"Western Gulls are very aggressive when defending their territories and consequently were persecuted as a menace. The automating of the lighthouses, and the closing of Alcatraz Prison, allowed the species to reclaim parts of its range. They are currently vulnerable to climatic events like El Niño events and oil spills.
"The Western Gull was one of the antagonists in Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie, The Birds, which was filmed in Bodega, California. The biggest Western Gull colony, the Farallon Islands, is located some 35 miles southwest of Bodega."
Well, you could look it up. This one, on the beach at Malibu, seems more thoughtful than antagonistic.
Much that is good and all that is evil has gathered itself up into the Western Gull. He is rather the handsomest of the blue-mantled Laridae, for the depth of color in the mantle, in sharp contrast with the snowy plumage of back and breast, gives him an appearance of sturdiness and quality which is not easily dispelled by subsequent knowledge of the black heart within. As a scavenger, the Western Gull is impeccable. Wielding the besom of hunger, he and his kind sweep the beaches clean and purge the water-front of all pollution. But a scavenger is not necessarily a good citizen. Call him a ghoul, rather, for the Western Gull is cruel of beak and bottomless of maw. Pity, with him, is a thing unknown; and when one of their own comrades dies, these feathered jackals fall upon him without compunction, a veritable Leichnamveranderungsgebrauchsgesellschaft. If he thus mistreats his own kind, be assured that this gull asks only two questions of any other living thing: First, 'Am I hungry?' (Answer, 'Yes.') Second, 'Can I get away with it? (Answer, 'I'll try.') - William Leon Dawson, Birds of California, 1923