Herring Gull

The Herring Gull is mostly white in color, but its back and the tops of its wings are pale gray. The very tips of its wings are black with a white spot. Did you know that in the winter adult herring gulls will change color? Their heads are streaked with brown feathers until the warm weather of spring returns. The herring gull has pinkish legs and a yellow bill. It is about 23 inches long from the tip of its bill to the end of its tail and weighs

Herring gulls are a common bird, found throughout North America. During the spring and summer they stay mainly in Canada and Alaska, but they can come as far south as the southeastern USA in the winter. This gull lives near oceans, rivers, or lakes. It stays close to the shore even when migrating for the winter. Herring gulls are scavengers: they will eat almost anything that they can find on the ground or in the ocean that is easily taken. Many stay near fishing wharfs where they scrounge for bits of leftover fish, mice, bones, or crabs. They even looks for garbage dumps--herring gulls have been seen eating bread crumbs, fruit peels, even french fries!

These birds begin to mate in mid-March, after they return from their winter migration. The male and female build the nest together, lining it with moss and grass. By mid-May, the female lays a group of 3 eggs. After 28 days the eggs hatch chicks. Eggs are guarded well but may be stolen by other birds as a food source. Chicks stay with the parents but are quickly taught to find food for themselves. They are full adults in 4 years.

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