My name is Smeagull Herring Gull. Smeagull the Seagull is my book. I live on the shore of Long Island Sound. For more than ten years, I’ve made my home on the Connecticut side because that’s where my Trained Humans live. But enough about them. This is all about me.
Like other gulls I work for a living. I search for moon snails in winter, dropping them from high up down onto the rocks to crack them open – which takes a lot of skill, let me tell you! You have to hit those rocks just right. I also fish for several kinds of crabs in spring and fall, and all year round I take small fish, like smelts and peanut bunker and silvesides and when I can catch them, menhaden. Anything that’s fresh and sweet. And delicious!
When I’m tired, after a long day at the beach, that’s where my people come in. I’ve trained them, to come to the sliding glass door and feed me scraps from my favorite fish. I trained them by knocking. I tried talking, but, let’s face it. They’re very nice, but they just aren’t smart enough to understand the language of Seagulls. Knocking. That’s what works.
When I knock, I knock just the way a human knocks:
Valerie Elaine Pettis is a graphic designer of international reputation, known especially for her work in human rights and, in particular, for her symbol for the International Decade of Women which she designed for the United Nations. Her work has always maintained a pronounced sense of play. Valerie loves seagulls and plays with them all the time. They love her too.
Mark Seth Lender is a producer, and Explorer in Residence for Living on Earth, which is nationally broadcast on public radio. His book, Salt Marsh Diary: A Year on the Connecticut Coast, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2011, and his column, Cardinal Points, which features his writing and photography, appears monthly in Ink Magazine.
Mark has made friends with seagulls on all seven continents and has scientifically determined that seagulls are the best, and the smartest!