It reminded me of Thanksgiving. But, it was July. The feasting continued for hours and days on end. And just like babies and old men, the gulls were alternating eating with napping. Some had eaten so much, they seemed unable to fly. So, they gathered in the center of the field and laid down. Meanwhile, field mice were panicking and they all ran after the farmer’s wife, Keith’s mom.
She was pulling dual rakes and flipping windrows of cut hay. However, the rakes were also ripping away acres of mice houses. In an instant, mice were left completely exposed to the elements. They were dazed, confused, and scurrying to find refuge. So, when it came my turn to rake, I was happy to be off the ground and high in the tractor seat.
A colony of seagulls jetted overhead. Their shadows darkened the ground all around me. It was truly a field day for these birds. And it offered a free, all-you-can-eat buffet of fresh, hot, fast-food. As word got out, more gulls arrived. The poor mice didn’t stand a chance.
Alas, there was lots of competition and some fighting, too. After all, it was a family gathering. As the hay rakes exposed the mice, there was always two or three gulls hot on their tails. One gull would beat another to a mouse, tightly clamping it in a beak. The other gulls would then try to take it away. And like the last piece of pie, one only got to keep it, if they held on long enough to swallow it.
Only two types of mice seemed to survive. Those that got rolled with the hay and those that were dropped, as the gulls fought. Twice, I was unnerved because the gulls had flown too close to my own head. So yes, I admit I felt a little sorry for the mice. However, I was also intrigued by the food chain in action.
After the hay was raked, it was baled. When the baled hay was removed from the field, the party was over. Then just as quickly as the gulls had swooped in, they left. They are migrant birds and foragers, moving from one field of opportunity to another. Fortunately, they never leave any dirty dishes behind.