There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

California Gull

Larus californicus

Medium-sized gull
Dark eye
Greenish-yellow legs
Yellow bill with black and red spot near tip
White head, underparts and tail
Slate-grey back
Black wingtips with white near tip

Listen to its call.

According to experts, the most important basic keys to identifying gulls are size, shape, and color pattern.  However, there are so many variations between adult and immature gulls, as well as breeding and non-breeding plumage, that I find this an almost impossible task. 

Unlike most of the gulls I've seen around Victoria, many of the ones in the Broken Group Islands had yellow legs. They also had both a red and black spot near the tip of their lower mandibles. As the California Gull is the only gull in southwestern British Columbia with both of these features, I had a relatively easy time with this identification ... thankfully. 

Difference in size between California Gull (left) and Ring-Billed Gull (right)
Learn more about the California Gull.

No comments:

Post a Comment