Mystery of seagulls feasting on Oracle Park leftovers revealed


It doesn’t take long after the final out at Giants games to be greeted with the creatures who make their presence known in the sky above Oracle Park.

Yep -- the seagulls, and they’re not going anywhere.

The birds appear to know when spectators have left, leaving a treasure trove of garlic fries, hot dog buns and remnants of helmet nachos. 

Jonathan Bloom and our friends at NBC Bay Area did a lot of research to find out why these Bay Area staples continue to fly and feast their way around McCovey Cove.

For starters, breeding could be a main factor in it.

NBC Bay Area spoke to Max Tarjan, science director for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, who said studies have shown that seagulls will increase the time they eat human food during their breeding season.

Nachos just get them going, I guess.

This also attributes to the increase in the seagull population. The number of spectators brought to a ballpark who don't finish their food plays into account. The gulls are expecting food during these times. 

"Their populations are just doing incredibly well," said Josh Scullen, a senior biologist with the observatory said. "The gulls have just really adapted well to living in an urban environment."

The birds are creatures of habit, and it was discovered they could actually recognize human faces too (!!!). 

Research is being conducted with mini GPS trackers used to understand where the birds go in search of food. One bird, in particular, has eaten behind a dumpster at a deli in the Tenderloin district -- possibly five different times.

It appears they know what they’re doing.

This is where it gets even more strange … and impressive.

Scott Shaffer, a marine ecologist, and professor at San Jose State University said the same group of these birds that used to frequent Oracle Park prior to the COVID-19 shutdown could have returned after the absence of fans. 

These birds can live up to 20 years with some even doubling that age, so they’ve seen it all from the Barry Bonds era to all of what Buster Posey does and continues to do.

As far as trying to get rid of them, well good luck.

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The Giants reportedly have tried it all. The team tried playing a realistic recording of a gull in distress over the ballpark speakers. Which ultimately scared the birds -- but it scared the people as well. 

Either way, the birds have become an essential part of the ballpark experience and it appears they aren’t as big of a bother as some may think. Just don’t feel so bad when you drop a fry or two on the ground. You might just be feeding a family of new baby chicks.

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