Three cheers for seagulls! They are a godsend to man

Surely you knew that the “seagull chick” article on your front page last week would elicit a strong response from the small handful of La Jollans who think the Earth was created solely for them. However, I am proud that our city did the right thing in taking a stand for this helpless little chick (and halting lifeguard tower construction until it was able to fly away.) In so doing, the city not only helped the baby seagull, it also helped us.

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seagull chick at lifeguard station 5

Most grade-school children can tell you about the role seagulls played in the pioneer history of our country. In 1848, the people of Utah were saved by seagulls. A great plague of Rocky Mountain crickets was destroying their crops and nothing they did could stop them. This firsthand account by Orson Whitney describes the devastation of the crickets:

“When it seemed that nothing could stay the crop destruction, great flocks of gulls appeared.  Filling the air with their white wings and plaintive cries, they swooped down upon the half-ruined fields. All day long they gorged themselves, and when full, disgorged and gorged themselves again. The white gulls upon the black crickets, looked like hosts of heaven and hell contending, until the pests were vanquished and the people were saved.”

More than 100 years later, in 1955, the gull was selected as the state bird of Utah. In Salt Lake City an impressive bronze and gold leaf monument depicting the “Miracle of the Gulls” was erected in the center of Temple Square.

We are fortunate to have California gulls as permanent residents along our coastline. Their presence certainly guarantees that we won’t be plagued by crickets. And not only can we enjoy watching their effortless, graceful flight, we can also be amused by their aerobatic gymnastics.  Normally they are quiet, gentle birds, though we are all familiar with their high-pitched cries when food is around.

I’m sure most of you, like me, don’t appreciate those big, white, paint-like blobs left by seagulls on you cars or other places. But this truly is a small price to pay for the good they do. Perhaps we need to remember that not only are they helpers in cleaning our beaches and shorelines of the litter left by humans, they are also beneficial to agriculturalists. Gulls do more good than harm in this world, and after all isn’t that what we try to do too?

Florence L. Lambert

Retired nurse, conservationist,

native San Diegan, 43-year resident of La Jolla

Vons must rethink  its parking policies

As a La Jolla resident of more than 30 years, and someone who likes to support our local businesses, I have never experienced what happened to me while I was shopping at Vons last weekend.

Having done my shopping at Vons — with the grocery bags visible in my car — I proceeded to the adjacent UPS store and to pick up a sandwich from Subway. I had plenty of time left within the two-hour posted parking limit.

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