Graham, Field Editor of Audubon magazine and author of Since Silent Spring (1970) offers here a ""social history--a record of the relation between man and several of the world's forty-four gull species."" It is a tale of population decimation and then inflation, so that at the present time, particularly in the Northeast, a few species have reached what some regard as ""pest"" proportions. At one point Graham watches a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service place poison ""sandwiches"" on an island in Maine's Muscongus Bay to kill gulls and arrest their predation on other birds. (""It's a hell of a world we've made for ourselves and these animals."") Gulls have become a menace to aircraft and a source of pollution as they ingest the contents of dumps. Man himself has aggravated the situation by the thoughtless profusion of stinking artificial feeding grounds--dumping areas, sewer outlets, etc. Attempts to prune the gull population often fail with this large, remarkably resilient bird which may have developed the ability to adapt to abrupt change in its original Arctic habitat. Graham reviews the record of man's destruction of water birds, touching on the founding of the Audubon Society and the turmoil surrounding the first protection laws (there are amusing letters and anecdotes concerning the reactions of sullen locals). Predictably a thoughtful, searching analysis of our ""degrading conflict with this beautiful and resourceful creature.