Can you tell a Herring gull from a California gull based on its eye color and beak spots as seen backlit against a gray sky a thousand feet away? Me neither. Throw in the fact that adolescent gulls change their raggedy wardrobes three or four times before settling down to a staid adult pattern of basic gray, black, and white like EVERY OTHER GULL ON THE PLANET and you’ve got quite a conundrum on your hands. Now, you can study gulls real hard. Or you can hang out with people who will identify them for you. That’s what I do.
Because if my Birdathon team were going to rely on me to count gull species, we’d get only One. One gull and two sparrows and possibly an old coot, because I’m familiar with those. And that would be sad. Portland Audubon is counting on us to count birds and raise funds for their excellent education and conservation programs. They have camps and school programs and free environmental classes for underserved youth. Way I figure it, the more kids we can get outside learning to care about the environment, the more likely we’ll still have an environment to care about.
I’m no Gull Whisperer. The only thing I can contribute to my team is an ability to raise money for Portland Audubon. I hope you’ll help prove me right!