We're delighted to introduce you to Hilda, our resident seagull!
Hilda and all seagulls are very clever. They learn, remember and even pass on behaviours, such as stamping their feet in a group to imitate rainfall and trick earthworms to come to the surface. Hilda has flown all the way from Sweden to take roost in Sheringham at Red Lobster Gallery.
Hilda's intelligence is clearly demonstrated by a range of different feeding tactics, such as dropping hard-shelled molluscs onto rocks on Sheringham beach so that they break open so she can eat them, and following ploughs in the Norfolk fields where Hilda knows upturned grubs and other food sources will be plentiful.
Hilda can drink both fresh and salt water. Most animals are unable to do this, but seagulls have a special pair of glands right above their eyes which is specifically designed to flush the salt from their systems through openings in the bill.
Gulls like Hilda, are members of a large, widespread family of seabirds. Often known as seagulls (though no species is actually called a seagull, and many are found far from the sea), they sometimes get a bad reputation for stealing chips, especially on the promenade at Cromer and Sheringham!
The word seagull is a colloquialism for describing a bird that belongs to the family Laridae, which also includes the terns and skimmers. There are over 50 species of gull worldwide with 11 found in the UK (12 now Hilda has joined us)!. These are the black-headed gull, common gull, glaucous gull, great black-backed gull, herring gull, Iceland gull, kittiwake, lesser black-backed gull, little gull, Mediterranean gull, and yellow-legged gull.
Help us keep tabs on Hilda whilst she explores North Norfolk and beyond.