I Learned It From Watching You: Feds Have Been Offing Gulls for Over a Decade

This gull escaped the killing fields to UW's Red Square
Killing gulls is nothing new--the trick, apparently, is in how you do it. A few weeks ago, the Washington State Patrol got some heat because a couple of their members clubbed baby seagulls to death at the ferry terminal. But it turns out that they were just a little inartful (and inhumane) in their execution. For more than a decade, the US Department of Agriculture (with the approval of the US Department of Fish and Wildlife) has been sending terminators to take care of problem gulls--for example, gulls that divebomb people, or that are suspected of making people sick with their droppings. (Not sure how they'd identify the problem birds on that last one.)

The terminators use pellet guns and, for the little ones, little gas chambers that look like microwaves. (These are the methods that the USDA has approved of as humane.) The carcasses are supposedly removed before the first ferry runs. But just in case they aren't, now you'll know what to tell your kid the next time you take her to the ferry and she sees the men and women carrying the pellet guns and the strange metal boxes. "No, those aren't microwaves, sweetie--those are gas chambers for killing baby birds."

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