University of Tasmania

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Silver gulls in the City of Hobart

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 21:51 authored by Carol FreemanCarol Freeman
Seagulls are not one species but many and they do not necessarily live by the sea. This paper concerns silver gulls, found in Australia. I focus on the way they interact with humans in the urban environment of Hobart, Tasmania, which is often described as ‘last stop before Antarctica’. I use Van Dooren’s idea of ‘storied-places’ to provide new perspectives on and human accountability for seagulls. We found a baby silver gull near the edge of the river that runs through the centre of the city. He was fluffy and spotted and had been dropped by a predator. I tell the story of his survival; how a rookery was moved from an unused railway line; how volunteers conduct the city’s annual gull count; the relationship of silver gulls to food sellers; how a car collided with a large group of gulls sleeping on a road; and how gulls feature in the history and culture of the city. I conclude that the resilient silver gull, like all gulls in the Family Laridae, although often constructed as ‘just a bird’ is much more. They are an integral part of human and nonhuman urban life, a wing on the breeze, a stray feather, a strident call, a visual metaphor, and fragment of a larger space.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 4th Days of Animal STudies: Seagull is not a bird






School of Humanities


University of Split

Place of publication


Event title

4th Days of Animal STudies

Event Venue

Centre for Integrative Bioethics

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Environmental ethics; Other culture and society not elsewhere classified

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