Monday, March 28, 2011

Merritt Island NWR 2

Two common birds at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Florida) include the Boat-tailed Grackle above and the Laughing Gull below.  This male grackle did not seem to be a rubber-consuming pest like the Black Vultures about which I recently blogged.  Rather this vain male perched on window wipers and appeared to be displaying towards his reflection on the windshield.  You can see the reflection in the photo.
Laughing Gulls are abundant birds of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of North America.  This photo is my first of this species in breeding plumage.  The black head probably serves a territorial function.  In other black-headed gulls, breeding pairs face away from each other, so as not to be repulsed by the black head.  Young and winter bird, like this bird wintering in Texas, have much reduced black on their heads, resulting in more cohesive flocks.

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