Chicago got its biggest snow storm of the season on Friday which tends to really change the gulling dynamics along the lakefront. So, I went to Calumet Park the next morning to conduct a "well-being" check on the gulls. The gulls were really receptive and no more than 5 minutes of chumming brought in this adult California Gull:
Adult California Gull. Calumet Park. Chicago, IL. 21 Jan 2012.
CAGU is now annual in Illinois with the majority of records coming from Lake County. The entire state averages maybe 1-2 birds per year. Coincidentally, this individual was found by Josh Engel on the Chicago CBC on Christmas Day. Almost a month later and 12 miles south, it continues to work the lakefront. The great thing about birding Calumet Park is that the state line is literally a rock's throw to Indiana. Any gull seen in Illinois is always a "to and from" Indiana bird, although not all birds in Indiana always enter Illinois.