Seagulls have learned that they can break open quahaugs (hard-shelled clams) by dropping them from great heights onto hard surfaces such as roads or rocks. This is a well-documented behavior. But in 1932, the Vineyard Gazette
reported that seagulls at Martha's Vineyard had learned an even more remarkable trick. They were killing rats by deliberately dropping quahaugs on them, and then feasting on the dead rats. The Gazette claimed that the gulls would soar aloft to an unusual height with a heavy quahaug in their beaks, then would hover and shift their position, gauge the wind, and finally "drop the shellfish with a precision that almost never fails to connect with the rodent below, knocking it unconscious or killing it outright on the spot, whereupon the gulls descend and feast on fresh meat." These so-called "bomb-dropping sea gulls" gained wide coverage in the media. However, hoax-debunker Curtis MacDougall later cited the story as an example of the kind of tall tales that were frequently printed by small newspapers in the early 20th Century. The idea was to boost local tourism by getting the name of the town or region reported in papers nationwide.