Saturday, May 22, 2010

Birding Laughs: "There's no such thing as a Seagull"

California Gull by Mike Morrison

My nine year old son, Kyle, walked in the door this afternoon upset to the point of tears.

I asked him what was the matter.

"Today at school my teacher was talking about seagulls.  I told her 'There's no such thing as a seagull' and she didn't believe me.  And all the other kids thought I was crazy."

I asked, "Did you explain to her why there's no such thing as a seagull?" already laughing on the inside but trying to portray the facade of a concerned parent.

"I did, but she just didn't believe me." he responded with tears filling up his eyes.  (Is it possible to have your heart break for your kid, while still laughing...out loud?!)

The teacher and classmates were adamant that there are seagulls. Hasn't everyone seen them?!

Unfortunately Kyle couldn't come up with the right words to intelligently explain that each species of gull has a name and that not a one of them has the name "seagull".  Having been forced to endure many birding trips with his father and grandfather, Kyle didn't know that "seagull" is an acceptable term for gulls by the non-birding public.  Plus, his grandfather is fond of repeating the phrases: "There's no such thing as a seagull" and "A gull is not just a gull."  The poor kid didn't stand a chance.  He'd been brainwashed!

I sent the teacher an e-mail apologizing for Kyle's bird nerd grandfather and father and explained his position.  I hope I can make it up to her and the class with a fun visit and lesson about birds and birding!

UPDATE:  A couple days later, Kyle's teacher explained to the class that Kyle was indeed right, and using my e-mail she was able to explain to her class that there is no such thing as a 'seagull'.


  1. I love this post! Great story and photo.

  2. I know what your child mean, I'm teacher at primary shool, I would like to show my students everything about birds...It is not possible because I teach technology...but sometimes, if I have at least a little oportunity I like to speak about them like crazy...(or my students must belive that for sure!)

  3. Your poor son. I hope the vinidcation is enough to make the experience a more positive one. In the future, the kids will know that he's the one to where to go to when they have bird questions. Great story!