12 November 2011

Hybrid Laughing x Ring-billed

While out gulling at Calumet Park on Friday, 11 November 2011, I noticed a Ring-billed sized gull with slightly darker upperparts. I stayed on the bird for a few seconds and quickly picked up on the reddish bill:

Putative Laughing x Ring-billed hybrid. Calumet Park & Stateline Power.
This is the same presumed hybrid that has frequented Chicago's far southeast side and Hammond Indiana for the last 8 years. We've come to call him (or her) "the colonel" because it was first found in the parking lot of KFC. Here's what it looked like exactly 8 months prior:

Calumet Park. Chicago, IL; 11 March 2011.
The reddish bill, single mirror and olive-yellow iris all suggest this is the same individual. This is the first time I've seen this bird without a hood. Interestingly, the same hybrid combination is reported in American Birds from Kentucky Dam on 26 FEB 2011. Could this be the same bird?

Also actively feeding on minnows behind Stateline Power were 6 Bonaparte's Gulls:
Last week's birds were aged as 5 adults and 1 2nd cycle. Interestingly, this week's are aged as 5 1st cycles and 1 near adult.

Herring Gull numbers continue to increase, but there also seems to be some turnover here with this species compared to last weekend. I observed many 2nd cycles this week as opposed to the adults last week. The discharge behind Stateline Power held about 10 Herrings that seemed to have figured out the minnows there are easy to catch.