This Land of Birds edition sees Kiwi naturalist Sir Robert Falla train his binoculars on the black-backed gull, or karoro. Familiar to most New Zealanders from stealing their hot chips, it's one of the few natives to have boomed in numbers since humans arrived in NZ, after adapting to feeding in “the effluent of human affluence”. The film follows the large bird's life cycle and examines its relationship with people, from airports (birdstrike risk) to farms (where they help control insects but also scavenge lambs). Falla died soon after the film was completed.
Gulls play an important part in the affairs of humans. Firstly as a symbol: they are associated for most people with the sea, hence the name ‘seagull’ , which seems to apply to all types of gulls. Secondly as a problem, or a series of problems, mostly related to human methods of waste disposal.– Narrator Sir Robert Falla