Monday, 24 November 2014

It's the turn of the tern!

Congratulations to tara-iti - the fairy tern! It's New Zealand's Seabird of the Year 2014! A more deserving winner there could hardly be.

I know those of you who voted for us - the black-backed gulls - meant well! At least we didn't make it to 100 votes. Too many of you have probably seen us do this kind of thing:

Until next time - this is Captain Cack signing off and wishing you humans the very best!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Look at us! We're vermin!

My heart is heavy.

We have 62 votes in Seabird of the Year - that's 62 votes too many.

Haven't you humans given us too much already?

You've cleared vast swathes of land for us.

You've fed us bountiful streams of rubbish!

And we - I am so sorry to say - have taken full advantage.

With our vicious and gluttonous ways we have overrun the land.

So don't vote for us black-BACKED gulls!

Vote instead for those poor little black-BILLED gulls!

The black-bills don't scavenge like us. They haven't been able to exploit the changes you humans have wrought upon the landscape.

Instead their numbers have dwindled until they are now the most endangered gull in the WHOLE world.

So I say again:

We have land-fill - so VOTE for BLACK-BILL!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Vote for Westland petrels

The Westland Petrel may be the only bird species in the world discovered by school kids.

And what's more it was discovered by New Zealand school kids - in Barrytown on the South Island's West Coast

Here's the story

The kids at Barrytown School were listening to a person on the local radio talking about some birds that were nesting nearby. The person said they were muttonbirds.

These kids were smart New Zealand kids - and they knew their muttonbirds. They reckoned that what the person on the radio said was wrong. The birds didn't seem like muttonbirds at all. (They were nesting in a different season for a start!)

So the kids' teacher got someone to bring one of these 'muttonbirds' into the class.

True - it looked a bit a muttonbird - but it was also different. The class got the bird sent off to be examined by a scientist.

Guess what?

The results came back and it was a whole new species that no one in the world knew about.

These birds are now called 'Westland petrels', and the only place on the planet where they breed and nest is in one small spot on the West Coast of New Zealand

Thanks to kids, bird experts now know about Westland petrels and can help keep them safe. The small Westland petrel population has started to grow - but these birds still face many threats.

Why Westland petrels need you

They're tough, sturdy birds that can live a long time. But despite their bravado, they really need your help. They get caught by fishing nets; predators attack them; and what if anything happened to the one and only place where they live?

They're also really fun to imitateListen to their noises here.

Vote for these birds - the Westland petrels - and their special relationship with New Zealand kids  at

(Scroll right down - they're the second to last bird on the list.)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Vote for little blue penguins!

I - and my kind - have caused so much penguin pain! Just read this true story of terrified little blue penguins chased almost to death by black-backed gulls - and rescued by humans in the nick of time!

Was I one of the gulls who tortured those particular little blues? I can't remember - there have been so many!

So now - to assuage my guilt - I exhort you to vote for little blue penguins at Seabird of the Year 2014

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The gull at home

Mr Mouldey - I thank you for your unflinchingly honest and yet very sensitive portrayal of my battered and broken self.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

I am Captain Cack!

I was once a vicious and piratical black-backed gull like any other – and I might still be today, if it weren’t for The Terrible Incident at the Tip.

Never mind the details, but on that fateful day I lost both my leg and my dignity – and I believed I would die.

And as I lay on the rubbish pile  battered and broken – I ruminated on my life. I thought of the adult birds I’d assaultedthe baby birds I’d eaten, and all the land and food I’d thieved.

In a blinding flash, I realised that the world would be better off without me! Who needs one more black-backed gull?  I was GLAD I was dying! GLAD!

Howeveras the hours passedmy strength returned.  Could it be that the universe had other plans for me? 

At last I could get up and hop.

But I felt different.  The old piratical Captain Cack was gonereplaced by a new me – a black-backed gull who would dedicate her life to apologising for her kindand trying to right past wrongs.