In August, a variety of species of gulls travel to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts after nesting elsewhere. Mary McCann has more.
CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Steve Curwood
CURWOOD: You might think that a gull is a gull is a gull - but, as BirdNote®’s Mary McCann reports - it isn’t exactly so.
[CALLS OF GLACOUS-WINGED GULLS]
MCCANN: If you visit the beach as summer wanes, you may notice that gulls with different appearances are showing up. Gull-watching is pretty tame along the coasts most of the summer. Many gull species retreat well north to nest, a few others inland. Along the Atlantic, it’s mostly nesting Herring and Laughing Gulls that stick around through summer. On the Pacific coast, it’s Glaucous-winged and Western.
But by late August, the picture begins to change. Bonaparte’s Gulls begin arriving along both coasts and at the Great Lakes. These small, sleek, black-headed birds begin flocking south in August.
[CALLS OF A FLOCK OF BONAPARTE’S GULLS]
MCCANN: Handsome, pale gray Ring-billed Gulls also return to both coasts in late summer, most having nested inland.
[CALL OF A RING-BILLED GULL]
MCCANN: Both species winter along the coasts:
[CALL OF A RING-BILLED GULL]
MCCANN: And along the Pacific, one very distinctive gull has come just for a summer visit – the Heermann’s Gull.
[CALL OF THE HEERMANN’S GULL]
MCCANN: Watch for a gull with a very dark back, a powder-white head, and – unmistakably – a blood-red beak. Heermann’s Gulls nest along the northwest coast of Mexico, disperse northward for a few months each summer, then return south. I'm Mary McCann
CURWOOD: That's BirdNote®’s Mary McCann. To see some gull-iful photos of some of the gulls mentioned in this BirdNote®, flock over to our website LOE dot org.
Calls of the gulls provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Glaucous-winged recorded by A.A. Allen, & Bonaparte’s by G.A. Keller & by W.W.H. Gunn; call of Ring-billed Gull by L. Macaulay.
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