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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 15, 2002 - Issue 63


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Raven Steals Daylight


When the world was created, everything was in darkness. All the daylight was kept in one little box. That one little box was hidden in Seagull's house, and Seagull kept it all to himself.

Now Raven, who was Seagull's brother, thought that this just wasn't fair. It was so dark and cold without any daylight. If only he could get that box. But how? Raven sat down and thought and thought.

AHa!! He had it - a plan, a great plan.

That night, when the tide was low. Raven went down to the beach and picked up some sea urchins. A sea urchin has a hard shell with little sharp spines all over it. After he had eaten these sea urchins, he quietly tip-toed up to Seagull's house. Quietly he spread the sharp spiny shells all around the door step, then quickly he crept back home.

Next morning, Raven strolled over to see his younger brother.

Seagull was in bed. His feet were all swollen. Poor Seagull.

"Oh my! What happened to you?" Cried Raven

"Did you gather some sea urchins last night?" asked Seagull

"Why yes, I did," replied Raven, looking surprised.

"Well I guess those children of yours went and dropped their shells all around my front steps, I stepped on them and now look at my feet, just full of thorns.

"Let me have a look," said Raven. "Put your feet up here."

Seagull lifted up his feet.

"Now how do you expect me to see in this darkness? Open up your daylight box a little, Seagull."

Seagull opened up his box a tiny, tiny bit.

Raven had a knife and kept jabbing Seagull with it, in the wrong place.

"Ow! Ow! Ouch!" yelled Seagull.

"Well, if you give me a little more light I could see what I was doing," complained Raven. "Give me more light!"

Seagull opened the box a bit more.

Raven kept pricking and jabbing Seagull's foot with his knife.

"Oh please, Raven, leave my feet alone. You can't take the thorns out; You're killing me." Seagull brought the box closer.

Quick as lightening, Raven threw off the lid, and then..., the daylight excepted, and spread all over the room. Then outside it went, spreading it's lovely warm glow wider and wider till daylight spread all over the whole world.

Seagull saw his beautiful daylight escaping him, and he began to cry and cry. And he is still crying for his daylight today. Just listen sometime, you can hear him, too.

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Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

This gull is a scavenger. It will eat fish, rodents, small aquatic animals, bird chicks and eggs, and sometimes grasshoppers. It is best known for frequenting landfills, garbage dumps, and following ships which dump refuse overboard . It will also scavenge from plowed fields, parks, and parking lots. In fact, these gulls might be seen squabbling over discarded items from fast-food restaurants. In flight, the Ring-billed Gull is able to snatch food from the water's surface.

Though some gulls hunt fish, insects, other animals, or bird eggs, others are the vultures of the sea, feeding on carrion. There are 43 species of gulls, most living fairly far north or south of the equator.

Description 18-20" (46-51 cm). Adult silvery gray on back, white on head, tail, and underparts. Similar to Herring Gull but smaller, with greenish-yellow feet and narrow black ring around bill. Young birds mottled brown, paler than young Herring Gulls, with blackish tail band and flesh-colored legs. Acquires adult plumage in 3 years.

Voice This gull has a call which sounds like "kree, kree" in a uttered in a screeching fashion or a shrill "kyow kyow kyow" with high-pitched squealing notes . This is also known as the alert call. In addition, the mew call and the long call are produced with respect to different behaviors. For example, the mew call is sounded during courtship feeding, feeding with respect to chicks and other non-aggressive types of behavior. The long call is given during hostile displays and landing. While engaging in aggressive behavior, Ring-billed Gulls will lower their head to their feet, then toss their head backward before ending a long call. During submissive displays, they will draw in their head and neck in a hunched fashion, sounding short, high-pitched "klioo" notes and engaging in head tossing .

This highly social gull will engage in play whereby adults drop objects while airborne, then swoop down and catch them. They may engage in pirating food from other gulls and starlings as well as warding off other birds that may steal their food

Habitat Lakes and rivers; many move to salt water in winter.

Nesting Nesting occurs in colonies on the ground, or infrequently, in trees near inland lakes. Nest sites may occupy areas with other water birds. Three eggs per clutch are laid that are 6.4 cm long by 4.6 cm wide. The eggs are light blue, green or brownish and spotted. Incubation time is 21 days. Breeding occurs from May to August

Range This gull ranges from southern Alaska to the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, south, to southern parts of Oregon and Colorado and northern New York. During the winter, it is found from British Columbia to Maine (including the Great Lakes and Maritime regions, then south to central California to southern Mexico to the Gulf Coast to Cuba. It is also found in Bermuda and Hawaii. This gull winters from southwestern British Columbia and Washington state to the Great Lakes region to Nova Scotia then southward

By contrast, colonies of Herring Gulls seldom number more than a few score pairs. Mischaracterized as a seagull, this bird readily follows farm plows or scatters over meadows after heavy rains to feast on drowning earthworms.


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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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