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Divorce Among the Gulls

Feeling Covid pressure on your relationship?

The divorce rate is up – It’s okay, even some seagulls end up needing a divorce. 

Naturalist William Jordan wrote a small, lovely book called Divorce Among the Gulls, in which he explained that even among seagulls – a species of bird that allegedly mates for life – there exists a 25% “divorce rate.” Which is to say that one-quarter of all seagull couples fail in their first relationships – failing to the point that they must separate due to irreconcilable differences. Nobody can figure out why those particular birds don’t get along with each other, but clearly they don’t. They bicker and compete for food. They argue over who will build the next. They argue over who will guard the eggs. Ultimately they fail to produce healthy chicks. Anyhow, after a season or two of strife, they give up and go find themselves other spouses. And here’s the kicker: often their “second marriage” is perfectly happy, and then they do mate for life.

Jordan explains that there does exist even among seagulls a basic fundamental compatibility and incompatibility which no scientist can define. The birds are either capable of tolerating each other for many years, or they aren’t. It’s that simple and it’s that complex.