01 June 2023

May 2023 Quiz


December. Michigan.

Age: The mottled brown aspect with pointed primary tips suggest a straightforward 1st cycle of a large four-year species. Almost all of the scapulars are post-juvenile feathers. As a side note, several inner wing coverts have been replaced which typically isn't expected in the 1st prealternate molt of this species.

Identification: The diffuse bill pattern, smudged neck and sides, and apparent dark tail seem fairly typical of American Herring. The secondary coverts, especially the greater coverts, seem more neatly barred than usual for smithsonianus, but not out of range. Our December bird, banded as a rehab hatch year, is indeed a 1st cycle American Herring Gull. The link below gives some life history on this individual, including an open wing photo:

Anything Larus: A Good Story: Rescued 1st Cycle Herring Resighted