September 25, 2013

Autumn equinox at the beach . . .

Squid egg sac

Watercolor sunset

Teaching opportunity

I've watched this immature California gull pester it's mother for food for days now. The common tactic of the mother gulls is to present the food and let the offspring figure it out then ignore further pleas for a meal (my take of course). This mother gull seemed to be more patient than any other I've witnessed. She drug the crab beyond the waters edge and presented it to her offspring several times. Her 'child' attempted to eat for a moment and then gave up crying and begging. It's mother then ripped a leg off the crab and presented it; same crying and begging.  Often times I'll see the mother gull get bored or disgusted with the whole thing and fly off, leaving it's frantic offspring to figure it out. This mother persisted in her attempt to get the whiny bird to eat on his own. She repeatedly fended off mature gulls that swooped in to grab the prize. During one of these grab attempts, the ocean lapped up and pushed the whole crab (minus 1 leg) right to the feet of another waiting gull. The opportunistic bird promptly grabbed the crustacean and took flight. It was only then that the mother flew a short distance away leaving her offspring crying in helpless despair. 

As I watched this drama unfold it brought to mind my own parenting dilemma . . . when to assist and when to let your child fail and hopefully learn, seems to be a never-ending conundrum . . .