you may ask, is a bird named the California Gull
the state bird of Utah? The California Gull is the
bird that saved Utah's crops from grasshopper plagues
in the late 1800's. In fact, a memorial to the bird
now stands in downtown Salt Lake City.
California Gull measures about 20 inches in length.
It is white with gray wings and black primary feathers
along the edge of the wing. It legs are yellowish.
The California Gull has a large yellow bill with
a black ring toward the tip, and a salmon-colored
spot on the lower mandible. Females and males are
similar. It takes three years for juvenile birds
to acquire adult plumage. Depending on the age of
the juvenile bird, it may be completely brownish,
grayish, dusky, or whitish.
California Gull is an opportunistic feeder and like
other gulls, will eat virtually anything including
fish, insects, garbage, and small mammals.
Range: The California Gull breeds chiefly in the Canadian
provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan,
as well as North Dakota, Montana, eastern Idaho,
Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and the Lake
Tahoe region of California and Nevada. Huge nesting
colonies occur in Utah's Great Salt Lake. California
Gulls, however, are easily found during migration
throughout the western United States and Canada,
south to Northern Mexico.
California Gull breeds on islands in lakes and rivers.
During migration, it can be found in parking lots,
beaches, landfills, and over the ocean.
Nesting: The California Gull
is a colonial nester. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs
in a simple depression in dirt, sand, or on the