Ring Billed Gull

Laris delawarensis[i]

DSC_0633

There are several species of seagull in our area, most like to stick near the shore. Because, you know, they are SEA gulls. But not this guy. Nope. This is your common trash seagull. These are the ones you see in parking lots, dumpsters, public parks, wherever. They are highly adaptable and do well in areas well populated by humans.[ii]

These birds are also migratory. In much of southern New England and coastal Maine and New Hampshire, they hang around only in the winter months, while in parts of interior Northern New England, they are year round birds.[iii] As migratory birds, they have evolved a neat trick in which to help them make their annual trips north and south, they have magnetic bearings that help guide them for their fall migration. In, fact one study even discovered those bearing in the brains of two day old chicks.[iv]

The ring-billed gull is a rather small gull. They grow to be between 16 to 21 inches long with a wingspan of 41 to 46 inches.[v] They are gray above and white below with black wingtips.[vi] They also have a black ring around their bill, which gives them their name.[vii] Juvenile birds are gray and brown with pink legs and bill.[viii] It takes these birds three years to reach adulthood, and the young birds change appearance each molt until adulthood.[ix]

Also, because they are so numerous now, it is hard to believe that their population suffered a huge crash in the 1800s, this was because they were once overhunted for their feathers,[x] which was the same fate as many other bird species at the time.[xi] However, due to their fantastic survival skills, they have rebounded nicely. If anything a little too nicely, as they aggressively push out other bird species.[xii]

They are omnivorous, and eat just about anything and everything. They eat a variety of small aquatic animals, arthropods, fruit, and garbage.[xiii] They are highly opportunistic, and will steal from other birds,[xiv] because like other gulls, they are total jerkfaces.

Like most other gull species, they nest in colonies on the ground,[xv] which they like to stay loyal to year after year, they also stay loyal to their mates, if possible.[xvi] So while they may be total jerkfaces, but at least they make decent marriage partners! The aforementioned colonies range in size from about 20 to thousands, the population of a small city![xvii] They will often nest with other species of gull, but being smaller, they are often bullied into having crappier nest sites, because other seagulls are also jerkfaces too.  Their crappier nests are often closer to the water, which occasionally get flooded. [xviii]

One of the things I have noticed is that they are very aggressive, and will attack other birds. I have seen them peck to death a pigeon, chasing them away does no good, they just flew back and pestered that poor pigeon again and again. And another time one attacked a crow, which wasn’t too smart, because the crow just turned around and went after the gull. Not a wise move on the seagull’s part, because crows don’t take shit from no one, especially not any jerkface gull.

Besides stealing food from other birds, displacing other species, and attacking anything they think they can bully, another annoying feature of the ring billed gull is that they are noisy as fuck.[xix] Is it any wonder that no one likes seagulls, being the obnoxious nuisance machines that they are. Stupid seagulls.

[i] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[ii][ii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[iii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Audubon Guide to Birds, national Audubon Society 17MAR2017 http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/ring-billed-gull

[iv] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[v] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[vi] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/id

[vii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/id

[viii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/id

[ix] Unknown “Ring-Billed Gull” Wikipedia 22MAR2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-billed_gull

[x] Author Unknown “Ring-Billed Gull” Wikipedia 22MAR2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-billed_gull

[xi] Author Unknown “The Women Who Removed Birds from People’s Hats” Popular Science 12May2014 http://www.popsci.com/blog-network/ladybits/women-who-removed-birds-peoples-hats

[xii] Author Unknown “Ring-Billed Gull” Wikipedia 22MAR2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-billed_gull

[xiii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[xiv] [xiv] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Audubon Guide to Birds, national Audubon Society 17MAR2017 http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/ring-billed-gull

 

[xv] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[xvi] Author Unknown “Ring-Billed Gull” Wikipedia 22MAR2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-billed_gull

[xvii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/lifehistory

[xviii] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Bird Web Seattle Audubon Society 22MAR2017 http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/ring-billed_gull

[xix] Author Unknown “Ring Billed Gull” Cornell Ornithology Lab 2015 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/sounds

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s