|Putative Laughing X Ring-billed adult. Calumet Park; 6 MAR 2011.|
In flight, P10 shows a medium-sized mirror and the adjacent primary tips are with white terminal tips.
|In the bay north of State Line Power. 11 MAR 2011.|
There is no evidence that this bird has ever paired up with a Ring-billed in the Chicago colony, although there is a well documented, first state record, of a Laughing Gull nesting with a Ring-billed in this same colony. The hybridizing did preceed the appearnce of this bird in the Chicago area. It's interesting to know that several of these hybrids have been spotted along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan have all reported this hybrid combination. Howell and Dunn include a photo of one from WI on p. 14.
I've often wondered when our Ring-billed Gulls begin to return to the Great Lakes area from southern latitudes. This individual may be a good gauge for monitoring this as it sticks out like a sore thumb. The week I first relocated it brought with it a new wave of Ring-billeds - the kind that start hovering over your head before you even start to chum! Our wintering Ring-billeds (probably those that summer a bit north of us) like to keep a respectable distance between themselves and humans.