Archive for Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gulls making their presence known in Lawrence

Two varieties of gulls are passing through Lawrence from Canada and the northern states. Franklin’s Gulls, such as the smaller bird here, are black behind the head, and they have a gray mantle. The larger Ring-billed Gull, behind, is known for its black ring around the beak. The birds, after stopping at Clinton Lake on Wednesday, will head for warmer southern climates.

Two varieties of gulls are passing through Lawrence from Canada and the northern states. Franklin’s Gulls, such as the smaller bird here, are black behind the head, and they have a gray mantle. The larger Ring-billed Gull, behind, is known for its black ring around the beak. The birds, after stopping at Clinton Lake on Wednesday, will head for warmer southern climates.

October 28, 2009

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Stacy Snider estimated more than a thousand gulls had gathered last week on the grass at Sunflower School’s playground.

After she dropped off her children, Michael, 8, and Elizabeth, 7, at class, Snider ran home to get her camera and headed back to the school, 2521 Inverness Drive.

“It was amazing just seeing that many birds on that property,” Snider said.

Birders say area residents have a great opportunity right now to view large flocks of gulls and other birds during such a busy time in the migration season.

“There are new species that are showing up every day on the reservoirs and wetlands,” said Kylee Sharp, a Lawrence Virtual School biology teacher.

She said two main types of gulls have migrated from Canada and the northern Plains states and are headed farther south for the winter.

Franklin’s Gulls are black behind the head, and they have a gray mantle. Otherwise they are mostly white. The birds eat fish and tend to travel in large flocks.

“They will catch insects, too. Sometimes you will see them following tractors during harvesting,” Sharp said.

Wednesday on the shore at Clinton Lake, the larger Ring-billed Gulls — known for their black ring around the beak — were mixed in with some Franklin’s Gulls.

Sharp said it’s not uncommon for gull species to mix. Herring Gulls and Bonaparte’s Gulls also migrate through the area.

Marty Birrell, nature education supervisor at Prairie Park Nature Center, said as the leaves continue to fall from trees and many types of birds are migrating, this becomes a perfect time for birders.

“These birds are doing something that’s very high risk and uses a huge amount of energy,” Birrell said. “And the fact they can do it over and over again is truly remarkable.”

Comments

dukie1 5 years, 6 months ago

All those gulls and no buoys -- I'll have to check it out!!

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

consumer1: those would be Franklin's Gulls. They are the only inland gull. Gulls are scavengers. Have ya ever been to the beach with food? The dump smells. The dump has stuff to eat.

Gulls. Rats of the air.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

Didn't Hitchcock already make this movie?

jestevens 5 years, 6 months ago

Thank goodness for these gull scavengers....and vultures and beetles and blow flies and.....otherwise we'd be up to our necks in dead stuff. I'm not sure how scavenging got to be such a derisive word....so how about recyclers, for any organism, human or otherwise that uses something that's been discarded? One person's trash is another's treasure? One person's new stuff is a few generations away from being a valued antique?
I'm pretty impressed with these birds. They're leaving here to fly to Peru and Chile. Up to 5,000 miles. And they won't be using a drop of jet fuel to do it.

tanaumaga 5 years, 6 months ago

well, let's all grow some wings and feathers and follow them to see what they're up to...how much can i get for my carbon offsets?

Quigly 5 years, 6 months ago

Is the story about pigeons tomorrow?

monkey_c 5 years, 6 months ago

I saw nearly that many in the school yard at another Elementary school last week too. I think they are after the children.

somedude20 5 years, 6 months ago

Gulls make for good eatin boy!!! Rub a little bbq sauce on em and crunch down...yum yum

IrishCat 5 years, 6 months ago

Growing up in California near the Monterey Bay area, whenever it stormed out at sea, we used to see the seagulls line up on all of the football fields in town just like they were lining up to be in the marching band. Equal amount of distance between each bird, line after line after line of them..It was the funniest thing to see all of them out there out on the field like that just waiting out the storm.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 6 months ago

Devo: Gulls. Rats of the air.

---when I was in high school, 70's/central california, my fellow students and I used the gulls for live experiments, since we were precotious and understude the scientific method. high school was maybe ten or twelve miles from the coast, so gulls were around all the time.

most days the cafeteria at the high school served burritos made with "mystery meat." several of us would chip in and buy one burrito and set it out on a high point in the middle of the school. we'd watch for the behavior of the gulls then.

*if a gull hit the burrito, then didn't fly, we knew not to buy the burritos that day.

so, gulls can serve a useful purpose.

IrishCat 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey Bearded, where in central California were you in the 70's? I lived in Salinas...

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