Thursday, July 5, 2012

Square Gulls

The stretch of beach near the Presque Isle Park breakwall is rocky, and usually strewn with interesting bits of driftwood, the occasional piece of strange trash, and of course, dead gulls. Last week, I took a walk along that beach, and encountered four gull bodies, all in different stages of decomposition. Some had been recently scavenged, while others had been caught up in the rocks for quite some time, slowly desiccating.

Photographing dead gulls is a bit of a challenge for me. After a while, they all start to look alike, so for this particular series I took a different approach. I kept the compositions more ambiguous, and when post-processing cropped them to a square format. 

First Gull

The first was a ring-billed gull. Though very decayed, the body was mostly complete, including the head. It was tangled up in the debris adjacent to the breakwall, and looked like it had been there for a long time.

The second, also a ring-billed gull, was no more than a pair of wings held together by the keel and breastbone. This is how gulls often end up, as all of the more tasty parts are scavenged, leaving behind the near-meatless wings.

The third ring-billed gull was freshly-dead and very freshly-scavenged, likely by other gulls and crows. All that remained were its wings and feet, held together by a few bones.

The last gull I found was a juvenile herring gull, and compared to the ring-billed gulls, it was huge! Like the previous gull, it was recently-dead and freshly-scavenged. Left over were the wings and feet. The body was positioned in such a way that when the wind gusted, the wings would flap:

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