A flock of seagulls hair
a flock of seagulls hair
A flock of seagulls hair is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the United Kingdom. You will see them fly around coastlines seeking scraps of food or drink, or just to have a laugh at people’s misfortune. Although they are often associated with bad luck, they can also bring good fortune to those who befriend them. In times of natural disasters such as flooding or mudslides, people are often saved by the timely intervention of a seagull.
Seagulls are opportunistic creatures that will eat almost anything put in front of them. They have been known to tear apart and devour whole crabs, lobsters and lobster pots, among many other things. When they are acting in a flock, it is usually because there is food available for them to eat. This makes them quite different from an angry gaggle of geese, for example, which are known for their aggressive attitude towards humans. Although it is generally believed that the U.K. seagull population has decreased over the past few years, this perception is far from being true. The species has actually managed to thrive despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. This is largely thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers known as the U.K. Seagull Welfare Group, who have been collecting data to aid the government in understanding the species' behavior. The aim of the group is to protect the species from extinction and work towards ensuring that all birds are given permanent homes.
To learn more about the seagulls of the United Kingdom, check out this month’s BBC podcast, hosted by Emma Graham-Harrison. In the episode, titled ‘Mystery of the Lonely Seas', Graham-Harrison traces the origins of the species back to when it was formed in the 19th century. She also uncovers the myths and misunderstandings surrounding seagulls and their place in British culture. There is also a Q&A session with members of the public, who all had fascinating things to say about the birds, as well as some great behind-the-scenes stories. A total of 125,000 people have now signed up to join the national bird conservation scheme, the Blue Planet Project, which aims to give all birds permanent homes. This represents an 82% increase in participation since the project launched in May 2021.
A Symbol of British Culture
The blue seagull became the mascot of the 1951 Coronation Tour. That year, Queen Elizabeth II made her famous visit to the newly-wedded couple on their wedding day. The couple’s bouquet of flowers was designed to look like a blue seagull, and the Queen was famously moved by the image. A year later, the Queen gave the couple an open-top bus as a wedding present, which they used on their honeymoon. In 2004, Prince George and Princess Elizabeth visited a Cornish seaside resort and were amused to see seagulls perch precariously on a hotel rooftop, laughing and taking photos. Since then, the resort has become a bit of a hub for wildlife photography. Celebrities such as Benedict Cumberbatch have also gotten in on the act, with a wedding photograph taken at Cape Cornwall standing for the hashtag #SeagullsAreNationalIcon on social media.
Seagulls have featured on British coinage since the 1800s. In 2019, the Royal Mint released a special £50 note to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the coronet. The note features a representation of the black-winged seagull, a symbol of the United Kingdom and its place in the Commonwealth.
As well as being a symbol of British culture, the seagull has become a common sight on the Royal Buckhead. The Royal Buckhead is a group of islands located off the coast of Scotland that was gifted by Queen Victoria in the 1890s. It is a protected area that features a 16th century fort, a church, a castle, and a lighthouse. While the islands are owned and managed by the Crown, they are open to the public. The Royal Buckhead Foundation operates the islands, including a small visitor center where you can get a taste of island life. There are also some fantastic restaurants located on the islands, where you can sample world-class cuisine, including a freshly cooked lobster, local mussels, and creamy, scented pea soup. Day-trippers and weekenders visit the islands in summer, when the temperatures are just right for a short swim before you set off for the night’s accommodation.
If you are visiting the islands, make sure to look out for the black-winged seagull. You’re more likely to see them there than anywhere else, as they feast on fish and anything in sight. If you’re ever lucky enough to catch one on film, be sure to hold on to it. They’re a bit of a rarity, and getting a good photo is a challenge. The islands hold a special place in the heart of many British people, and they are a great example of conservation in action, as the Crown owns and manages the entire territory, protecting its endemic species. This includes the rarest amphibian in the world, the midwife toad, as well as the UK’s smallest mammal, the capuchin monkey. The islands also represent a melting pot of different cultures, with the ruins of an old Mayan palace, temples from the Indus River Valley, and a 17th century palace from the Mughal Empire all dotting the landscape. It is important to remember that the islands are part of Scotland, and as such, are subject to its weather conditions. This means that if you do get wet, it will be cold and the wind will be biting. However, for the most part, the islands are a glorious part of the British landscape, and offer some extraordinary beauty. If you do visit the islands, make sure to take a walk down to the seafront, where you’ll find some spectacular views and maybe even some seagulls for the camera.
A Symbol of Protection
The Royal Navy has been guarding the coastline of Great Britain for centuries, using watchtowers and patrol boats to monitor and protect the country’s shores. One of the most famous symbols of the navy is the white feather that serves as both a memorial and a warning. The memorial white feather was first introduced in the 1800s to commemorate the sailors who died while guarding merchant ships against pirates. It is still used today, mainly for ceremonial purposes, but can be worn casually as a mark of respect. Many sailors use the white feather as a goodbye gesture, giving it as a gift to their loved ones upon their departure.
The white feather has been used in various capacities throughout history. In World War II, the British armed forces adopted the white feather as a symbol of remembrance for their fallen comrades. They also used it on the uniforms of their soldiers to indicate that they were not to be taken lightly. Since the war, the white feather has been used to indicate several different things, from military funerals and protests, to weddings and coronets. It has even been seen in pop culture, with characters wearing blue jeans, sneakers, and a white feather as a homage to the great British bantamweight boxer, Bill Beecher.
Today, the use of the white feather remains one of the most recognizable and emblematic of the British Isles. It still serves as a quick and easy way to remember the sacrifices made by those who have fought for Britain, and it also indicates that the person wearing the feather is someone of importance. This is why many notable figures sport the white feather. The Queen has worn the white feather since 1951. She has also been photographed many times wearing the feather, usually flanked by other famous British birds, such as the golden eagle and the parrot. More recently, Prince George and Princess Charlotte have also worn the white feather, as well as other members of the Royal Family. The most recent occurence of the white feather was on 24 January 2020, when Princess Beatrice wore it on the steps of the Royal Chapel at Windsor.
A Prideful Bird
The seagull has a proud history in the United Kingdom. It was originally classified as a game bird in England, but was later established as a real bird. It is often considered to be England’s national bird, and it is one of the most recognizable symbols of the country. In 2018, the government declared that the seagull was one of the most photographed birds in British history. Many royal sightings of the seagull have been noted throughout the centuries, with the largest colony living near the Tower of London since at least the 17th century. The birds are famous for their loyalty to the Royal Family and for their playful nature. In times of adversity, they have been known to regroup around the royal family and to eat from the hand of Queen Elizabeth II.