Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ring-billed Gulls at Maumee Bay State Park

Ring-billed Gulls ruled the roost at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge while we were there the first week in November. Other gulls and terns were present too, such as large numbers of Bonaparte's Gulls, Herring Gulls, and few Caspian and Common Terns, but Ring-billed Gulls were everywhere.  The handsome birds had become habituated to humans and almost seemed to pose for the camera...

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) standing in the grass at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in Toledo, OH
Ring-billed Gull at Maumee Bay State Park in Toledo, Ohio (adult, non-breeding)

The pale yellow eye and the complete ring around the bill are great field marks to look for when identifying Ring-billed Gulls.

Ring-billed Gulls have pale yellow eyes rimmed in black. They also have pale yellow legs.
From a distance, a Ring-billed Gull might look bland, but their pale yellow eyes rimmed in black are striking. During breeding season, the orbital ring is red.

Black-tipped primaries are easily seen on Ring-billed Gulls.
The tips of the primaries on the wings are black...another field mark to look for.

It's easy to see the black-tipped primaries in flight. 

First and second-year Ring-billed Gulls do not look like adult Ring-bills. Click here for an article with photos by Cornell on how to identify young Ring-billed Gulls. How long can Ring-billed Gulls live? According to John Eastman in his book Birds of Field and Shore, if Ring-billed Gulls live beyond their second year, they have a good chance of making it 20 years or more (Eastman, pg 89)!

5 comments:

Montanagirl said...

Kelly, these are really nice. I like the lighting and backgrounds. Captured beautifully!

TexWisGirl said...

they are very striking.

Lois Evensen said...

Beautiful!

Elaine said...

Lovely shots, Kelly! The gulls certainly look like they were posing for you!

Kelly said...

I really enjoyed seeing all the gulls. There are so few around me house, and I love listening to their calls.