There is no mistaking the identity of this gull, it is the largest in the world. It stands about 16 to 32 inches and weights about 64oz. Leg color, pale pink; eye color, pale yellow; bill color, yellow with red on lower mandible; back and wings, black.
The gull, in my photos above, is at least four years old, because it takes that long for it to transition to the dark, black back.
The Great Black-backed Gull is one of many bird species whose feathers were used for fashionable clothing in the 1800s. After the demise of the feather trade in the early 1900s, Great Black-backed Gull populations increased and spread farther south. Garbage dumps and other sources of human refuse have contributed to their range expansion.
Sharing with Eileen at Paying-Redy-Attention; Saturday’s Critters http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.com/2015/01/saturdays-critters-58.html
`deep-colored bright blue overall (breeding plumage)
`only North American small finch to appear blue all over
`dark blue to black lores
`blue edging to blackish wings and tail
`dark gray conical bill
`plain, but beautiful brown
`two tawny buff wing bars
`short, gray, conical bill
`blue-edged feathers on wings and tail
`populations are expanding with the creation of disturbed habitat after logging, highway and power line construction and from farmland abandonment (yeah to expanding)
`likes forest edges, roadsides, hedges, dry brush lands, orchards, open woods, creeks and rivers
`eats grasshoppers, beetles, weevils, aphids, cicadas, cankerworms, span worms, flies, dandelion seeds, aster, thistle, grasses, grains, berries and more
`nests in raspberry and other shrubs
`song is a sweet-sweet, where-where, here-here, see-it/see-it (pretty melody)
`many are killed, while migrating at night, striking power lines and tall buildings (wind farms next?)
`neotropical migrant, flight speed measured at 20 m.p.h
`common hosts to cowbird parasitism 😦
**If you want to learn more about the Indigo Bunting, please go to The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Smithsonian Handbooks, Birds of North America and Stokes Field Guide to Birds. I used these sources for my information.
Added to my Birding Life List
Sky Rocket Road, Loveland, Colorado
(with my amazing birding mentor- Ann Means)
Photos taken at South Llano River State Park in April of 2014 while sitting in a bird blind. I was using my Canon 70D with Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens (no stabilization).
We have a Radiant Crabapple Tree in our yard. This tree was obviously grafted from two different crabapple species, because it has both red and pinkish blooms. Before, our hail storm yesterday it was in full bloom and had caught the attention of this lovely butterfly.