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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

August 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Combat seagulls of Seattle: a photo tribute by Ellen Banner

Seattle Times photographer Ellen Banner was out on the streets of Seattle last week when she encountered this family of seagulls, recent survivors of an attack by a man with a broom seeking to shoo them from the roof of a building near the King County Courthouse.

It’s rare to see baby seagulls — I never have, despite spending uncounted hours on beaches throughout Puget Sound and the Washington Coast — but here are Ellen’s amazing photos of these youngsters, nonchalantly going on about their business after being rudely rousted with the broom.

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Meal time for these baby seagulls, whose mother carries on despite being recently rousted by a human interloper with a broom

Ellen Banner, photo

Here’s Ellen’s account of what she saw: “A pair of seagulls nest on top of a building near the King County Courthouse and had three babies. Yesterday some guy living in the building opened a hatch in the roof, threw the nest to the ground (from a three to four story building) and when the mother or father took off and flew around trying to protect the babies he kept trying to knock her or him out of the sky with a broom.

“Luckily, the parent hid the babies in a cinder block on the roof and he couldn’t find the babies. Some women from the King County Administration building next door saw the whole thing and went to the street and started yelling at the guy on the roof. The man finally went inside the building and hasn’t been seen since. So far the little ones are all safe. Here are some photos of the little ones afterwards.”

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Just another day for the combat seagulls of Seattle. One of the little ones enjoys a king-sized yawn.

Ellen Banner, photo

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It’s a rare treat to see the interactions of a seagull family. One of the baby seagulls touches bills with its fellow nestling.

Photo by Ellen Banner

Like crows, the familiarity of seagulls for some breeds contempt. But for others, including me and I suspect many others, they are a lovely reminder of the salt water in our urban midst.

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