JA slide show

The Commodore Arrives at the Fishery

 

Long about five years after we opened the Fishery, a seagull came to visit.  He called for some food, and we fed him some fish.  The bird flew away, and we didn't see him for the rest of the day.  The next day the bird returned at about the same time, and the process repeated itself.  As the summer progressed, the bird made himself more at home, finding a roosting place on the roof, and a place to exercise and patrol on the overhang.

In the evenings, he left to sleep somewhere.  No one knows exactly where the gulls sleep, but some think that the little islands off shore with their high grasses provide convenient nesting places and protection for them.  Over the summer, we found that the bird had a personality, and would form relationships with the staff in subtly different ways:  to some he would be more wary, to others, more friendly, to still others more vocal.  And, after a few weeks, we adopted him as a kind of mascot.

The next summer, we opened in mid May, and, within a few days, we were surprised to find that the bird returned.  On the third day after opening, we came to the store to find our friend in his usual place, patrolling the overhang on the back of the kitchen.  At lunchtime, he called for his lunch, as was served, just as the previous summer.  Somewhere along the way, someone suggested that we name the bird, since it was obvious that this was going to be a long term relationship.

So, he came to be known as CommoHe tests our delicious seafooddore Bird.  The Commodore is a grey backed North American Herring Gull.  The typical lifespan for this species is about 30 years, though some naturalists think that the larger and healthier individuals may live 50 to 80 years.

Anyway, the Commodore has returned every summer since, showing up within a few days of our opening the Fishery.  And he's become our quality assurance person.  He only eats the freshest of seafood- he consumes about 2 ½ pounds of fish a day.  And he has been known to eat clams: he will take a clam in its shell in his beak, and fly with it.  When he gets high enough, he'll drop it on the ground to break the shell, and then eat the then exposed clam.

Commodore Celebrates a Particularly Delightful MorselLest you think that this is just a series of ordinary gulls scavenging, think again!  The Commodore is very territorial, and jealously protects his turf from invasion from other gulls.  He has a personal relationship with John, who needs only to go out the back door and whistle to summon the bird.  Bird knows a good thing when he finds one!  And one thing the Commodore knows is fresh fish.

So, if you have been on LBI before, you probably know us. So stop by and we'll show you the bird.  And if you're a newcomer, come on by and say, ‘Howdy!'.  And let us show you what makes our place so special!