California dreaming with gulls and squirrels

Six years ago, I stopped at a viewpoint on the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was a sunny afternoon, about 4 pm. A great flock of assorted gulls were feeding on scraps thrown to them by motorists. Along with the gulls were Brewer's Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) and that cute, confiding rodent known as the California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi). Bird and beast ate tamely out of our hands. And while the spectacle touched the animal lover in me, I couldn't help fearing for the creatures' health for eating all that salty and fatty food.