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When I was using a wheelchair, I learned something about seagulls that made me cry:  They eat sea stars.

Washington sea gull eats baby sea star. (Hadi Dadashian)

Sea gull dines on baby sea star. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

(I’m a huge fan of sea stars; gulls, not so much.)

Hadi was pushing my wheelchair around the seawall at Stanley Park and we saw a gull with its mouth overstuffed with a bright, orange sea star.  This was so alarming, I cried out loud.

This is not a pretty sight, a grown woman sobbing in her wheelchair, by the water.

In my defense, the gull trying to swallow the sea star wasn’t a pretty sight either.  And I didn’t weep for too long — the Vancouver waterfront is too splendid to be distracted by murderous birds.

There were so many bat stars (smaller, not spiky) and sea stars that summer, that we became accustomed to seeing seagulls with startling purple or orange legs hanging out of their mouths.

Thankfully, I haven’t seen this in some time.

But walking along the Washington waterfront yesterday, it happened again.  Killer gull with a baby sea star.

I’ve never seen a sea star so small, so I was grateful to get a glimpse before the seagull ate it.

Sea star in shallow watr, WA. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

One the gulls didn’t get: Sea star in the shallows at Gig Harbor, WA. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

I keep a handmade “starfish” — made from recycled, blue glass — on my desk, because a Canadian artist perfectly captured the form I admire so much.

I’m grateful for her artistry.  I’m grateful for every sea star I encounter.

Still don’t like gulls much.  With apologies to Hootie, seagulls make me cry.