Dear People of Ocean City,

Lemme tell you about a weird thing that happened to me the other day. I’m hanging out on the boards outside Manco & Manco’s, just pecking at a lemon wedge, doing a little squawking, occasionally staring out at the ocean with a mixture of longing and dread — normal seagull stuff — when all of a sudden I get this weird feeling down in my gizzard, like something’s not right, you know? The feathers on the back of my neck are standing up. Danger.

So I start jerking my head around, thinking maybe one of those stanky beach bum cats wandered down from Atlantic City and decided to get brave again. Which is no problem because I will mess them up EVERY TIME, bro. Instead I see this arrowhead-shaped shadow come gliding across the boardwalk like a reverse spotlight.

Holy crap, that’s a freakin’ hawk.

So I hightail it down to the Wonderland Dumpsters and I run into my boy Old Shawn — he’s kind of a big deal in the gull community; maybe you saw him on Boardwalk Empire? — and he gives me the 411. “It was in the paper, brah. The mayor’s bringing in these like hired-gun hawks and falcons and frickin’ owls, to keep us from quote-unquote harassing the quote-unquote good citizens of Ocean City."

Erik Swanson, owner of East Coast Falcons, talks to Donna Bassett, of Ocean City, while holding Ozzi, a Eurasian Eagle Owl, that will be one of the birds used in a city abatement program to chase seagulls from the beach and boardwalk in Ocean City.
VERNON OGRODNEK
Erik Swanson, owner of East Coast Falcons, talks to Donna Bassett, of Ocean City, while holding Ozzi, a Eurasian Eagle Owl, that will be one of the birds used in a city abatement program to chase seagulls from the beach and boardwalk in Ocean City.

Old Shawn was shaken up. This is a dude who’s seen it all: Sandy, Gloria, the Great Tums Scare, you name it. Before he flew away I thought I saw a single teardrop roll down his cheek. (It’s hard to tell because he’s had a wadded-up Kohr Bros. napkin stuck to one side of his face the last couple of months.)

People of Ocean City, this bird-vs.-bird intimidation campaign is not cool. NOT. COOL.

Look, I get it.

We seagulls can get a little hyper sometimes. Maybe even aggressive. If you toss one of us a pizza crust, we have been known to gather around by the dozens to see if there’s more where that came from. But please keep in mind we don’t really know where pizza crust comes from.

And for sure we act up from time to time. Diving in to swipe fries and hoagie crumbs from sunburnt toddlers. Pooping on the shoulders of dads playing kan jam. The other day I watched my girl Sully swipe a whole funnel cake from some lady on a lark scooter, paper plate and all. Legend.

But, yeah. We know we go too far sometimes. We know we can do better.

How about you call off your hired goon birds (ever met an owl, by the way -- total psychopaths, all of them) and I promise we gulls will make a serious effort to share the city with you.

We’ll try to work more seafood and less people food into our diet. Our species survived without caramel corn for millions of years. We can probably do it again. Plus I know it scares the tourists when we get grabby.

We’ll probably keep eating your garbage since you don’t seem to mind that. But we’ll scram if you shoo us away, instead of pretending we don’t know what it means when you wave your arms around like that.

Listen, we’re still gonna poop on people — no way we can quit cold turkey — but we’ll try to only do it while you’re already filming, so maybe you can monetize the video? I don’t know. We’re trying over here.

Sincerely,

Jason Seagull

As dictated to Patrick Rapa, a freelance writer from Fairmount and accomplished bird whisperer.