roombavoomba  asked:

What is the deal with seagulls, have they always been opportunistic around humans? I live about 15 miles inland and seagulls would always show up at our schools around lunchtime and could get pretty aggressive over the trash and dropped fries for instance. Crows and finches do the same thing, but the seagulls seem like something is wrong with their natural environment that worries me. That or they just know humans have food

Seagulls are a really great example of what happens when you have a combination of habituation and the ability to adapt well to an urban environment. They’re naturally scavengers with good memories and the ability to fly long distances in search of food - now add in human encroachment on their coastal habitat, human habitations that mimic their nesting sites (sheer edges and flatish roofs) lack of natural predators in cities, and the picnics that come with our beach days and you’ve got a great recipe for a species realizing that it’s way more effective to chill out and utilize humans as a source of food. We’re so many generations into that pattern that they’ve learned how to scout for food-rich areas and time their visits. So it’s not really that there’s something wrong with their natural environment, more that they’ve really adapted to cohabitation with us as their new “natural” state in urban areas. 

(…thinking about it, this is actually probably the closest example I’ve seen to how people think proto-wolves might have started the evolutionary journey into becoming dogs. Hanging out around human settlements for the food, slowly adapting across generations for lower flight distance, and eventually learning to utilize us as a resource…)

dumb newsboys doing dumb newsboy things

It was 2:30 in the morning, and Spot’s eyes were barely open. Race was sitting down with Finch and Albert and a shitty deck of cards on the floor, cigar in his mouth and cursing like a sailor. The three of them were not only awake, but were loudly roughhousing and fighting over who won what round. 

“Race, please, just come to bed. It’s been three hours.” Spot yawned, rubbing his eyes in the vain hope that it would keep him awake. 

“Spot,” Race said, not glancing up from his cards. “I got a winnin’ streak here, ain’t nobody gonna pull me away.”

“Oh?” Spot asked, raising an eyebrow. “Sounds like a challenge.”

“Don’t even think about it, Conlon.” Race said, throwing his cards on the table and whooping at his win while Albert and Finch yelled in anger.

Spot rolled his eyes and swung his legs over the bunk, clinging onto the last bits of consciousness as he crossed the floor of the lodging house. Race’s arms were wide out on either side of him as he celebrated his win, and Spot took that opportunity to plunk himself right into Race’s lap.

“Conlon, what are ya doin’?” Race asked, dropping his hands in surprise.

“I wanted to cuddle,” Spot responded, shifting slightly and tucking his head in the crook of Race’s arm. “And you wouldn’t get up.”

“Hey, no fair, you don’t get help!” Albert complained.

“Albert, ya dummy, he’s gonna win whether Spot’s there or not.” Finch shook his head.

When Race was looking at his newest hand, Spot shifted very slightly, almost invisibly, closer to Race’s ear. Race leaned forward to exchange a card, and Spot lifted his head and whispered something in Race’s ear that made him turn bright red and drop his cards. 

“Damn, Higgins, that’s the worst hand you’ve played in weeks!” Finch exclaimed. 

“Sucks he hasn’t had the time to get cocky yet, otherwise you’d have won a lot more back.” Albert said.

“Albert, he’s always cocky.” Finch rolled his eyes.

"I didn’t put my hand down! Spot made me drop my cards!” Race frowned.

“The point is your cards are on the table and ya lost, ya dummy.” Finch said, scooping coins into his palm. 

“Spot, I can’t believe this.” Race said, looking down at the boy in his lap in disbelief. Spot just shrugged and snuggled closer to Race, who wrapped an arm around him and tapped the table so Albert would deal him a new hand. 

Three rounds later, once Race had won back what he’d lost and more, Spot surged up and kissed Race, carding his hands in Race’s hair and holding his face close to his own. Race quickly forgot the cards in his hand and kissed Spot back. Race dropped his cards on the table and tugged Spot as close as he could by the hips. 

“Hey. Hey. Higgins. Quit kissin’ on Conlon, ya lost again.” Albert grinned. He and Finch high-fived and Albert scooped money into his hand, laughing at the look on Race’s face when Spot pulled away.

The third time Spot made Race lose, he started to catch on. When Spot moved to whisper into Race’s ear again, Race just threw his hand on the table and picked Spot up. 

“Race- Racetrack what are you doing?” Spot asked, clinging to Race’s shoulders as Race carried him across the room.

“We’re going to bed. You’re not gonna let me gamble in peace.” Race said, shaking his head. 

Spot could hear Albert and Finch teasing them and crowing over their new fortune on the floor, but he was mostly concerned with how gently Race was laying him on the bunk. Spot burrowed into Race and Race curled himself around Spot, wrapping a blanket over the both of them and pressing a kiss to the top of Spot’s head.

“G’night.” Spot murmured drowsily.

“Night.” Race responded, tucking his chin on Spot’s head and holding him closer as Spot drifted to sleep.