Saturday, January 5, 2013

Herring Gull

Erika and I had visions of finding rare gulls during our New Year’s Day drive to Prescott, Wisconsin. But we were able to hallucinate none, finding only Herring Gulls. Rarer gulls such as Thayer’s or Icelands would show little or no black on the underwing tips (see my January 2012 blog). Other species would show darker backs than the gray-backed individuals we observed.

Herring Gulls are perhaps the most common gulls in many parts of North America. Breeding from Alaska to New England, northern Minnesota, and the East Coast, the species winters widely across much of the United States and Central America. In the 1800s, Herring Gulls were almost driven to extinction by plume hunters and egg collectors. Thanks to protective laws, and the Herring Gull’s love of garbage dumps, by the 1960s, numbers fully recovered (Pierotti and Good 1994).

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