Fat gulls!

I’m not sure I can still call these “minigulls.” They’re nearly fully feathered, now, and about three-quarters the size of adult birds. They can sustain flight (actual flight, as opposed to bouncing along with their feet on the ground) for several feet. In a few days, they’ll take to the air. I’m ridiculously proud of them. I mean, I know I’m not responsible for them, in any way, but…well, I did let their parents use my feeder, the whole time they were being incubated and fed. I wouldn’t feel entirely unjustified in catching them and putting “Sponsored by Socar Myles!” rings on their legs. (Not that I’d do such a thing, of course, but if I did…well, all right; that would be a bit pants. But I’m not going to, so don’t get all up in a wad.)

This corner seems to be their favourite.  They spend a lot of time in it, bunched up like a pair of feather dusters.

This corner seems to be their favourite. They spend a lot of time in it, bunched up like a pair of feather dusters.

Yesterday, for the first time, the larger of the minigulls got on the railing, and surveyed his domain.  But he seemed to know he'd plummet like a stone, should he try to ride the breeze.  He looked around for a few minutes, and hopped back down.

Yesterday, for the first time, the larger of the minigulls got on the railing, and surveyed his domain. But he seemed to know he’d plummet like a stone, should he try to ride the breeze. He looked around for a few minutes, and hopped back down.

If I hadn’t checked up on them every day, during their development, I’d hardly believe these were the same birds that emerged, stubby and bare, from the eggs!

The fluff's mostly come off his head -- just a few little dandelion patches to go.

The fluff’s mostly come off his head — just a few little dandelion patches to go.

A moment after this was snapped, the fish got swallowed whole.  Down the hatch!

A moment after this was snapped, the fish got swallowed whole. Down the hatch!

Flight training gets started at the crack of dawn, and proceeds till twilight. Up and down they toddle, flapping their wings. Every few tries, they catch a friendly breeze, and become briefly airborne. Then, they sleep a little, and practice some more. The sky is calling.

Sometimes, it looks like they're legitimately practicing for their first big flights.  Other times, I get the distinct impression they're playing.  Note, in particular, the upper right photo, where they've found a discarded feather, and are fighting over it.

Sometimes, it looks like they’re legitimately practicing for their first big flights. Other times, I get the distinct impression they’re playing. Note, in particular, the upper right photo, where they’ve found a discarded feather, and are fighting over it.

That looks a little too much like fun.

That looks a little too much like fun.

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