ATT Park seagulls: A case study

In Satire on July 1, 2009 at 8:33 am


We had noticed an escalation of Seagulls at SF Giants games through the first third of the 2009 season. Under normal conditions, as patrons leave the ballpark gulls will come into feed on the unfinished food and debris. This season however there seemed to be more gulls than usual and we had also identified the presence of a “Recon Gull, ” a lone gull that would appear in the stadium several innings before the  flock.  The “Recon Gull” we identified as a Red-Legged Kittewake ( Rissa Breverostis) , a species more known for its large eyes and keen night vision than scavenging.

In order to gain an understanding of this phenomenon and to establish a possible link between gull feeding habits and the SF Giants 2009 rotation we conducted a field study over 10 games. As most bird migration occurs at night (Wilzack 1995) our field study took place over 8 night games and 2 day games. We measured wind speed using current algorithms and have assigned a tolerance of – 2 for large bird clusters per starter. This methodology is consistent with Obannon (1972).

Based on our observations we were able to establish a clear link between Giants starting pitcher and gull populations inside ATT Park. We also noted the presence of  several “Recon Gulls” as early as the first innings when Barry Zito was on the mound. This is unusual because not more than one “Recon Gull” was observed when the other Giants hurlers were on the mound. We hypothesize, therefore, that of the 3-4 “Recon Gulls”   observed when Zito was on the mound, only one was a true “Recon Gull” the others  most likely being Ring Billed Gulls ( Larus Delawarensis ) a species that is omnivorous and will scavenge on anything. For the complete findings please click on graph.


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