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No. 4 (Autumn 1953)
– 44 –

Why the Red-billed Seagulls Are Quarrelsome

When you come across some red-billed seagulls near the seashore or in our parks, you will be sure to find some noisy, bad-tempered ones among them, who chase the others. This is the story of how it all came about.

Many years ago the nicely-marked, banded dotterel and funny-looking, long-legged pied stilt used to live together, all the year round, in the South Island. They both disliked the winter months because of the cold and snow, but did not know of a warmer place.

One day the pied stilt overheard some red-billed seagulls talking about the better winter climate in the North Island. ‘We shall never tell the stilt and the dotterel and the others about the North Island,’ agreed the selfish seagulls, ‘otherwise they will all go there in winter-time.’

The pied stilt told his friend the dotterel what he had heard the seagulls say, and they decided to visit the North Island when winter came. Sure enough, when the cold weather began they flew away to the North, and liked it so much they decided to come every year.

The seagulls were very cross to see this happen, and began to ask each other who had told the pied stilt, the banded dotterel and other sea-birds their secret about the North Island climate. The seagulls quarrelled among themselves, pecked at each other, and became bad tempered, and even to-day chase one another around with noisy, angry shrieks.