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Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

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Tony Angell, on a Feeding Frenzy of Gulls

Naturalist, sculptor, and illustrator Tony Angell writes: "It was early summer and I looked across the open sea. Its surface gently heaved, suggesting the presence of some great being stirring within. ... In the bay below, a gang of a hundred gulls swirled, surged, and plunged into a herring ball... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

The Little Red Spot on a Gull's Bill

In the mid-20th Century, Dutch scientist Niko Tinbergen studied nesting Herring Gulls. He noticed that newly hatched chicks were fed by their parents only after they pecked at the adults' bills. Tinbergen devised experiments that varied the shape and coloration of the adult's bill. It became... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Gull Identification I

Relatively few gull species are common nesters in the Lower 48. But in October, both the variety and number of gulls increase dramatically. Gulls that nested in Alaska or Canada fly south to spend winter in more temperate climates. Western Gulls are present in the West all year, mostly near the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Seabirds Drink Salt Water

Seabirds have no problem drinking sea water. The salt they take in is absorbed and moves through their blood stream into a pair of salt glands above their eyes. The densely salty fluid is excreted from the nostrils and runs down grooves in the bill. As the drop gets larger, the bird shakes its... read more »

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City Gulls - Rooftop Nesters

Juvenile Glaucous-winged Gulls are taking flight over downtown Seattle. In Chicago, young Ring-billed Gulls are heading for Lake Michigan. And before long, juvenile Herring Gulls will be soaring over the Atlantic Ocean. More and more, some gulls are raising their families in the city. They nest... read more »

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The Music of Herring Gulls

For some of us, it’s hard to get excited about gulls. But they are just as fascinating – and have as much to tell us – as other birds. Take the Herring Gull, for example. Its appearance is striking, and its voice is unforgettable. Along the Atlantic coast of North America, the nesting population... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Submarine Gulls

Among the most feared weapons deployed in World War I, submarines sank almost 5,000 ships, sending 15,000 sailors to watery graves. Scientists and navy men worked to come up with a way to detect enemy subs. One thought was to feed wild gulls from a dummy periscope, in the hope that the birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history
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