From the article: Don’t watch this video if you have a soft spot for seagulls…being hit by a rider’s helmet on a speeding racing motorcycle. The incident you see here happened during last weekend’s Australian Moto GP and no, the bird didn’t make it.
If it had hit the fairing it would have deflected upwards. Watch the video again. Sure looks like it hit the helmet. The frame rate isn't high enough to see the hit, but the angles of incidence and refraction (to borrow some terms) coupled with the bird's trajectory appear to support a helmet strike.
It slid up the fairing, right into the helmet. Reversed direction from there.
Good reflexes. I've hit a Crow at 45 mph, right in the chest. Hurt too. I think the Crow flew away.
That gull did not. If that had hit him in the neck or chest, it could have dismounted him.
In Pheasant country you have to be alert. They are programmed, when startled, to take off across the nearest open ground, low and fast. Right at car wind shield height. Works at escaping coyote, as it gives them the best acceleration, where as a higher angle climb would slow them. When I lived in South Dakota my Dad hit 5 of them. 2 grills, 3 wind shields. Dense bastards. Good eating though. ( but not after going halfway through a wind shield. )