Season of Seagulls

It’s seagull mating season in Huelin here in Malaga. Although these raucous intrusive birds have been part of my life, I’ve never liked them. I’m no ornithologist. However, their co-existence with the pigeons has been an amusing spectacle for a few months while I’m having breakfast. In general they ignore each other, unless a neighbour throws out some scraps.

Over the last couple of weeks, though, the seagulls’ behaviour has really caught my attention. The head-bobbing males intent of getting a female’s interest. The female’s haughty indifference. One pair took over the roof immediately in front of me. The female would balance on the edge seeming to scour the neighbourhood for food, while the male would hide behind the water-butt before making his approach. It was 2 or 3 days before the female succumbed. Then they began ‘talking’ to each other – really. Munching my cereal I would hear their distinctive squawks. “That sounds like them.” And there they were – but it would be the female nagging the male to get on with his job. After a few days they disappeared, and the number of gulls diminished.

Once I saw a male having a tug-o-war with a female’s wing. Caught by the wng tip she was still having none of him. Foolishly he tried to get a more secure grip – but he’d missed his chance. She seized the opportunity, swooping low with him in hot pursuit. His efforts were so aggressive I thought he’d knock her out of the air. They disappeared among the buildings so I don’t know the result of that encounter.

This morning there were only 2 disconsolate gulls, anxiously searching.

But I’m left with a puzzle. Where do they nest? These flat roofs are totally unsuitable; there’s no shelter. Where do they nest in the wild? On cliffs or in vegetation on the sand? But there are no cliffs here, and very little peace and quiet on the beach.

So where on this coast do they nest? If you know, please tell me.

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