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My Dad was crazy about birds, but not the exotic kind like cockatoos or parrots.

Seagull in LaJolla, CA

He loved seagulls — those squawking opportunists who, by their sheer numbers,  smother most beach communities and flutter around french fry stands. His favorites flocked to Wymbolwood Beach on Georgian Bay where we vacationed every summer for 16 years.

Seagull in Huntington Beach, CA

My Dad shot reams of film on his 8mm camera — lots of the family — and tons of the seagulls near the water. Flying. Fighting. Scavenging. Seagulls.

In their later years, my Mom and Dad began taking holidays farther from home to places like Hawaii, Paris, Rome, San Diego and Columbia.

On each trip, my Dad seemed strangely fixated on seagulls. I wondered, as we sat in the dark watching reel after reel of gulls flying around in foreign lands, where were the Paris cafes? The Roman architecture?  What happened to the Hawaiian volcanoes and the emerald landscapes of Columbia?

All I can remember are silent movies of nothing but gulls and more gulls!!

Today, while reflecting on my own photo collection amassed from years of picture-taking,  I realized, with astonishment, that I have inherited the bird gene from my father!!

Bald Eagle — Balls Falls Conservation Area in Niagara

I have hundreds of photos of ducks, seagulls, parrots and pelicans eating up megabytes of my digital space. Owls, bald eagles and swans, oh my!!

Like my Dad was in his time, I am obsessed with birds — seagulls included.  With camera in hand, I feel an intense compulsion to shoot National Geo pictorials if a bird appears within 100 feet of me and my lens!

Gull in San Francisco Bay

I’ve concluded there must be some sort of mutant DNA strand responsible for this bird fetish found in me and my father.

My eldest sister once commented that among the four siblings, I am the one who most closely resembles my Dad in personality and temperament.

Pelican in Tulum, Mexico

We had no idea at the time that I also carried the bird gene — a most unlikely, but beloved, inheritance.

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