Seagulls are mysterious and beautiful birds floating on air currents as they call out with piercing mews. What are they saying? Where do they live? Come to think of it, where do seagulls sleep?

In the imaginations of sailors and poets! Ever since humans began making boats to sail the seas, they’ve wondered where seagulls go when they fly so high and free. They find a safe, quiet spot to sleep at night, but we’re going to tell you all the places where seagulls sleep in a moment — some of the answers might surprise you! Let’s look at the lives of these magical birds.

Technically There Is No Such Bird as a Seagull

Over 50 species of gulls exist worldwide, ranging from the Arctic to the Antarctic and everywhere in between. They’re like the United States Marines in that they thrive “on the air, on land, and sea.” Although we commonly refer to them as seagulls because most live by the sea near the coast or islands, some live inland and even in deserts.

Gulls have been around for over 30 million years, descended from Ichthyornis, a small ancient seabird with teeth that lived in flocks that fished together while dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today gulls range in size from 11-40 inches beak to tail. Some of the biggest gulls have wingspans over five feet.

Some people have asked, “Are seagulls eagles?” but they’re not. In the same family as terns, they’re distantly related to shoreline wading birds. They live in noisy flocks ranging from a few nesting pairs to thousands of individuals.

Natural predators of eggs and chicks include cats, raccoons, foxes, and birds of prey such as hawks and eagles. Adult birds are watchful for larger predators such as eagles, seals, sharks, and humans. To protect themselves, they often use the strategy of mobbing, a team effort to drive off enemies by screaming, dive-bombing, and even pooping and vomiting on the offenders. You’ve probably heard of crows doing this.

Where Do Seagulls Sleep?

where do seagulls sleep

Where do seagulls go at night? If you’re wondering, “Do seagulls fly at night?” then you’ll get your answer as you keep reading. Hint: They have to do whatever it takes to find food and safety. Gulls are generally diurnal, meaning that they’re most active during daylight hours.

Whether they live by the sea or by lakes and rivers, they like to sleep in calm water as well as on sandbars and beaches where predators can’t get to them without coming out in the open. Urban and suburban gulls will settle on rooftops, dumpsters, in parks, and even in your backyard. Although gulls prefer nocturnal rest, they will fly and forage at night if that’s what it takes to find a meal.

Where Do Birds Go at Night?

Birds are like all other animals in that each species has its own special habits. Usually their favorite food determines their sleep and wake habits. The other determinant of sleep habits is safety. Different birds perch on high branches, hide in crevices of rocks and buildings, or hunker down in their nests when they’re raising young. One of the benefits of belonging to a flock is that there’s safety in numbers.

Do Seagulls Sleep in Trees?

Because gulls are accustomed to being out in the open, that’s where they feel the most comfortable. With their wide wingspread, they can’t maneuver well among tangled tree branches. And speaking of branches, look at gulls’ feet! They’re made for walking on sand and paddling in water, not gripping onto a perch.

How Do Seagulls Sleep?

Seagulls and most other birds do something that humans can’t do. Half of their brain stays awake in order to watch for predators while the other half gets its rest. This is called “unihemispheric sleep,” referring to one hemisphere of the brain sleeping while the other stands guard. Opening their eyes every five to ten minutes is another way to monitor what’s going on around them.

Where Do Seagulls Sleep when It Rains?

seagulls at the beach

Gulls on the open ocean can ride the air currents and fly around or above a rainstorm. Other gulls can fly inland away from the storm or take temporary shelter in a warm, dry spot in rocks or hedges.

What Time Do Seagulls Wake Up?

When do seagulls sleep? Are there any nocturnal seagulls? As we’ve mentioned, most species of seagulls are diurnal, meaning that they wake up with the sun. However, if a meal beckons, they will fly and hunt at night, especially near the bright lights of a city.

What Do Seagulls Eat?

First, ask what they drink! They can drink saltwater as well as freshwater! Similar to the way we sweat saltwater, they have a special gland near their eyes where salt is concentrated and excreted through their nostrils.

Regarding their eating habits, they’re opportunistic scavengers, taking advantage of whatever is available. They prefer a mostly carnivorous diet like crabs, shrimp, fish of all kinds, shellfish, small birds, eggs, insects, worms, amphibians such as frogs and salamanders, small reptiles, and rodents.

They do eat some plant material including fruit and seeds. They have jaws like snakes’ that unhinge so they can swallow big things. In addition to the titles “scavenger” and “carnivore,” you can also add the title of “kleptoparasite,” which is another word for moocher.

Not only will they swoop down to nab a sandwich out of your hand, but they’ll steal food from each other, and have even becut en observed to wait for diving birds to surface so they can snatch their catch.

FUN FACT: A Cute Seagull Joke ~
Why do seagulls live by the sea?
Because if they lived by the bay, they would be bagels!

Is It Ok To Feed Seagulls?

Seagulls love it when you feed them and get spoiled pretty quickly on junk food. Why go chasing after slippery fish when people are giving you cheeseburgers? They communicate with each other about food sources, so the entire flock knows where to find freebies.

However, since humans don’t eat a fresh, nutrient-dense B.A.R.F. diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) balanced for seagull’s needs, birds that eat mostly people food end up malnourished. Malnutrition in birds often affects the development of the eggs and young. What’s more, seagulls don’t use human toilet facilities but instead, let loose their business to splat wherever they happen to be at the moment.

And that’s how they make enemies. The situation could really get bad like that famously terrifying Hitchcock movie. Therefore, do not feed seagulls.

How Do Seagulls Communicate?

Just like your dog or cat, seagulls have a large vocabulary of vocal sounds to communicate. In fact, each species has its own language. Most calls involve what you’d expect:

  • ”Beat it! This is my turf!”
  • ”Hello, my little chickadee! Come on over here and let’s chat!”
  • ”Danger! Danger! Hawk at twelve o’clock high!”
  • ”Old donuts in the dumpster — come on, gang!”
  • ”Mommy! Daddy! Feed me! Regurgitate right here into my beak!”

Where Do Seagulls Nest?

where do seagulls nest

Most seagulls are ground-nesting, taking advantage of a hollow depression, often on the side of a cliff, and line it with vegetation, feathers, even plastic. For protection, they nestle next to a rock, bush, or log. Each pair has its own nesting territory that it defends from invaders, although the birds flock together to seek food.

They mate in the spring after returning from the winter migration back to the same site they left. Gulls generally mate for life. Laying two or three eggs, the parents take turns egg-sitting while the other searches for food. Where do seagulls sleep? At this point in their lives, they sleep in their nests.

Seagulls At The Beach — What Are They Doing?

They’re watching you eat, that’s what they’re doing! Like many birds, they’re also drawn to shiny objects, so if they spot metal flashing in the sun, they want to investigate. If they can grab it, they often will. If you want to keep them away, don’t let them be tempted by seeing your food or jewelry and keys.

Some people put a seagull scarecrow up in the form of a large imitation owl or hawk. Finally, bring bright red and yellow blankets and towels that gulls perceive as a danger signal.

Why Do Seagulls Hang Out In Parking Lots?

Gulls hang out in parking lots for two reasons. The first is that many species of gulls live far from the open ocean – they inhabit areas around lakes and rivers which are often next to towns. Parking lots often surround restaurants and dumpsters, both of which attract insects, small birds, and rodents. The second reason is that the flatness of the parking lot allows a good panoramic view to spot approaching danger.

There’s one more reason that gulls sometimes flock together unexpectedly at an inland location, and that is impending severe weather. Because the birds are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure as well as infrasound pulses too low for humans to hear, they often fly miles inland to find safety a few days before the onset of a severe storm or earthquake.

Who Was Jonathan Livingston Seagull?

how long do seagulls live

In 1970, American author Richard Bach published a small book about the story of a young seagull who feels restless and bored with the daily routines of living and squabbling for food. He wonders about what else there is in life.

The result of such questioning and nonconformity is getting kicked out of the flock. The novella traces his adventures and ultimate return to seagull society. The story immediately became a worldwide bestseller because of its simplicity and universal appeal. It explored the journey of imagination, spirituality, and following your own heart. Here are a few famous quotes:

  • “The gull sees farthest who flies highest”
  • “You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.”
  • “We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.”
  • “Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.”

Who’s a Birdbrain?

The answer to the question, “How long do seagulls live?” lies partially with the incredible intelligence of these birds. In fact, they’re classified as one of the most intelligent of all birds right up with ravens and parrots. Not only can they use tools but they also learn new foraging techniques. They even pass the knowledge on to their young.

People have observed seagulls using chunks of bread to lure fish close to the surface to be easily caught. Seagulls have also dropped shellfish onto rocks and concrete to break them open in the same way ravens crack nuts to eat. The practice of passing on new learning to the next generation extends beyond instinct to one of the characteristics of culture and society. Only humans are birdbrains.


What If I Find An Injured Seagull?

Before taking action, be sure that the bird is really injured instead of temporarily stunned. You can call a local wildlife rehabilitator in your state to find out how to proceed. Most nature centers have a wildlife expert available as well. If you must handle the bird, be sure to wear gloves and eye and face protection. Lightly wrapping a blanket over the bird will block its view from frightening stimuli while gently restraining it from panicking or attacking.

Do Seagulls Make good pets?

Even if you can answer questions like what’s the best seagull diet, where do seagulls sleep, how much exercise do seagulls need, will seagulls get along with my cat, what if my seagull escapes, how do I give my seagull medicine, who will take care of my seagull if I get sick, how will my seagull’s social needs be met without more seagulls in the house, etc., keeping a seagull is illegal in most states.

How Long Do Seagulls Live?

Healthy birds can enjoy an average lifespan of 15-30 years, but the oldest known seagull lived almost half a century. Chicks grow their flight feathers a month or two after hatching and begin foraging on their own for food. They reach sexual maturity in three or four years.

How Fast Can Seagulls Fly?

Seagulls are built for speed and can fly 20-40 miles per hour.

Do Seagulls Migrate?

Different gull species migrate along different paths. Most northern species migrate to warmer regions farther south when the weather turns cold. The farthest route extends from Canada to South America and back again.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the answer to your question, “Where do seagulls sleep?” and so much more! To quote from Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “One school is finished, and the time has come for another to begin.” We’re lucky to live in a world with so many intelligent, beautiful animals with such magical powers.

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