Seagulls do, in fact, eat birdseed. Seagulls are omnivores, which means they have a varied diet. They can eat an assortment of marine creatures and other animals, or they can feast upon plants and fruits.
What You'll Learn
When a seagull is presented with a feeder full of bird seed, it will most certainly dive in. But bird seed is not their first choice. It is the availability of a feeder full of seeds that entices the birds.
Seagulls are opportunistic eaters. That means they will eat whatever is readily available, whether or not it is nutritionally valuable. Seagulls eat a variety of marine animals and plants, along with fruits and seeds.
Seagulls are scavengers and have been known to harass humans for their food, along with dumpster diving to enjoy the processed food snacks they have come to crave.
There are a lot of questions surrounding seagulls and their eating habits, such as what do they eat in the wild? Can I feed them human food? Now that I know they can eat birdseed, can I put out a feeder for them?
This article should address your concerns and help you understand the food preferences of seagulls.
What Do Seagulls Eat in the Wild?
Seagulls are omnivorous birds and eat a variety of animal and plant matter. What coastal birds eat may differ slightly from what inland birds eat.
From The Sea
The main staple of a seagull’s diet is fish. They also eat small crustaceans and other various marine creatures. Being scavengers, they will eat both live and already dead animal matter, though they prefer live food.
Seagulls have been known to feed on whales that have washed up on the beach, barnacles, and even starfish. There is little discernment when it comes to what a seagull finds appetizing.
On The Land
Though their main diet is fish-based, that doesn’t mean they don’t feast upon land animals as well.
Shorebird eggs and baby least terns rate high on a seagull’s list of favorite foods, along with earthworms, frogs, and various reptiles. Seagulls can also be found scavenging in parking lots and dumpsters.
Plants, Fruits, and Nuts
Seagulls also add a healthy mix of plant matter and healthy fruit and nuts to their diet. The fruit and nuts help add energy to their diet, while plants and leafy greens are used more as a filler to round out their diet.
What You SHOULDN’T Feed a Seagull
Many people enjoy feeding the seagulls while on vacation at the beach or even as a daily interaction. Though it may seem fun and exciting, most state environmental protection divisions heavily frown upon or forbid the feeding of wild birds. This is because a seagull will fill up on processed food and lose their desire to hunt and forage for their own food. This hurts both the seagull and the local ecosystem.
The primary culprit for the crackdown on feeding wild birds is processed food. Potato chips, French fries, cotton candy, and other boardwalk-type fare have become a favorite of seagulls, and for a good reason, it’s delicious! Unfortunately for the birds, though, it is not healthy and can lead to a shortened life span.
What SHOULD You Feed a Seagull?
Though it was mentioned earlier that feeding seagulls is usually not recommended, there are safe alternatives to offer to wild birds, including:
Bringing us back to our original question, do seagulls eat birdseed? They do, and though it may not be their first choice of food, they will not turn down a feeder full of seeds. Birdseed has plenty of fats and proteins that help a seagull maintain a healthy and active life.
Fruit is a delicious and nutritious addition to a seagull’s diet. Left to their own devices, seagulls will naturally seek berries and other small fruits in the wild.
Fruit that is safe to feed seagulls includes blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, and grapes.
Some fruits should never be fed to birds. This includes cherries, apricots, pears, peaches, nectarines, and plums. These fruits have pits or seeds that, if ingested, can break down into hydrogen cyanide, which is poisonous.
Sliced apples are safe, though they may not be fed whole as their seeds also break down into cyanide.
Nuts are a source of healthy fats for a seagull, which is necessary to maintain healthy skin and feathers and regulate their body temperature.
When seagulls seek nuts in the wild, it is unlikely they will come across a variety of flavors or roasting options.
For this reason, if you choose to feed nuts to wild birds, it is best to use raw and unsalted varieties. Adding excess sodium, flavoring, and preservatives isn’t healthy for us as humans, but even less so for birds.
Be Cautious When Feeding Seagulls
No one can deny the simple pleasure of feeding birds, whether it’s seed from a bird feeder or watermelon straight from your hand. Seagulls, being the gregarious creatures that they are, have very little fear of humans. Coupled with their opportunistic nature, it almost guarantees that if you have left food out, any seagulls in the area will swoop in to grab it.
If you want to offer seeds for your seagull friends, your best bet is to go with a commercially prepared mixture containing grains such as milo and millet and safflower and sunflower seeds, and small amounts of cracked corn. This mixture will not only be pleasing to seagulls but to the other native birds in your area as well.
Recommended For You
- Natural Pain Relief For Birds – The Top Options
- How to Keep Fountain Water Clean For Birds
- Do Crows Scare Away Other Birds?
- How Long Can a Bird Egg Live Without Warmth?
I am Bryan Powell and I own BirdHour.com. I love bird watching; in fact, I have a parakeet of my own. I enjoy spending time outdoors and observing the natural world around me. This website is a means of sharing my passion for birds with others who may be interested in this activity.