Glaucous-Winged Gull Eating A Starfish

Glaucous Winged Gull Eating A Starfish

Yesterday while I was enjoying a walk down Whiffin Spit I stumbled across a Glaucous-winged gull eating a starfish.

I had been scouring the parking lot and nearby area just to see if the Lark sparrow was still there, but either its flown away or was somewhere I couldn’t see.

Thought I might just continue down the spit to see if any other rarities had appeared. Or (hope springs eternal) if I could get a really good up-close photo of the three Western meadowlarks that had arrived to spend the winter.

After spending many a day and years trying to get a good photo, it’s now become a game between them and me. You would think that as there are three of them, that one of them would like its photo taken.

But no such luck.

Saw them, followed them, off they flew. Followed them… they flew.

Now it’s not like I was really near them at all. They were like 100 feet away and just little specks in the telephoto lens.

They have boundary issues.

So, I continued my walk to the end of the spit, looking in the second field to see if any Lapland longspurs had deemed to land and forage.

We normally get a few as they travel through on their migration south and if you are lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time, one gets a glimpse of this lovely little bird that spends its summers on the tundra.

While on my way back, I took one more turn around the first field and at the point, saw the back of a gull that seemed to be having trouble swallowing.

It wasn’t until I got to the side of it that I could see a large starfish hanging out of its mouth and I had to laugh.

He looked so funny.

Their mouth in comparison to the starfish is tiny which brings to mind the saying that the eyes are bigger than the stomach.

I have watched them eating starfish before and I even got some pictures of two seagulls fighting over one a few years back.

It was hilarious. They tugged back and forth and one would get it and then the other would grab it until the winner finally flew off with it.

Such great excitement in the world of seagulls.

But, today there was only the one and he looked like he wasn’t quite sure how to swallow it.

He dropped it, turned it around a few times and picked it up again.

Slowly walking into the water, he went a couple of feet offshore but there was a seal swimming by so he came back up on the beach.

It looked like he might be going to swallow it, so I started the video on my camera and recorded the event.

Thought you might enjoy it.

Wait for it…!


  1. Absolutely fantastic photography!!!!
    it looks like it is still stuck in its throat, its a wonder he doesn’t choke to death. I ‘d like to kow how long before it is digested. WOW


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