|Adult Ring-billed Gull. Whiting, IN. 09 March 2014.|
I'm always amazed by how my perception of this species' size varies depending on the season. When observing these birds on Sunday, I made a mental note of just how small they are when compared to the larger gulls such as Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Thayer's. After a month or so when our larger gulls move out, this species goes back to looking "big" again, to my mind.
At the time, most of the adults have pristine white heads and are in full breeding condition. A small percentage of adults do show light to moderate head streaking. All the 2nd cycles still show head streaking and so their prealternate molts may be later than adults. Why very few 1st and 2nd cycles are around is somewhat of a mystery to me. Are these ages still farther south on the wintering grounds with no urgent need to hurry back to the breeding grounds?
|1st Cycle Ring-billed Gull. Whiting, IN. 09 March 2014.|
One observation I made while watching them feed at my feet is just how similar to Laughing Gull some can sound when "laughing", especially as they land to feed among other feeding birds.
|Wing structure can look considerably different in flight depending on the bird's thrust and speed.|
Some others from the next morning near my patch:
|1st Cycle Ring-billed. Tinley Park, IL. 10 March 2014.|
|2nd Cycle Ring-billed. Tinley Park, IL. 10 March 2014.|