One of the great things about being a nature lover is that your powers of observation seem to improve. While others are walking by, oblivious to the activities going on all around them, naturalists notice the creatures and the behaviors, especially if they are out of the ordinary.
As the group headed out along the walkway, Ginger noticed a gull acting strangely a short distance ahead of her. The bird was on the inside of the breakwater, where the water is clear and can be quite still. The gull appeared to be feeding on something underwater, but it didn’t raise its head. As they approached, they could see a red-orange shape in the water below the gull. When they got to the spot directly above the gull, they could see that it was an octopus. And Ginger’s camera was in her hand.
Gulls will eat octopus, given the opportunity. There’s a decent possibility that the victim in this story might have even been pecking at the octopus before Ginger and her family happened by. We’ll never know who started this battle, even though we definitely know who won! There are other records of octopus catching and eating sea birds, including reports of one with a den near a boat ramp on Whidbey Island that was seen catching both gulls and Pigeon Guillemots. However, Ginger’s are the only photos we’ve found that document this behavior.
To commemorate witnessing and photographing this amazing event, Ginger, Ken and Lou went out for a calamari lunch.
Mather, Jennifer A., Roland C. Anderson and James B. Wood (2010). Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate (2010).
Sazima, Ivan and Lisandro Bastos de Almeida (2008). The Bird Kraken: Octopus preys on a sea bird at an oceanic island in the tropical West Atlantic. Marine Biodiversity Records, 1 , e47 doi:10.1017/S1755267206005458