Sunday, August 23, 2015

Laughing Gull Season is Almost Over

I keep noticing laughing gulls, Leucophaeus atricilla, around New York and thinking about how they will soon be gone for the year. Laughing gulls that breed in the northeast fly south for winter to the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and to Central and South America.  I bet they are beginning to feel the pull. 

We are lucky to have laughing gulls at all; northeastern populations were nearly eliminated in the 19th century by plume hunters.           Click on the photos to enlarge. 
Breeding adult laughing gulls are easy to identify by their black hoods and bright red bills. And they sound like they are laughing when they call from beach or sky in loud descending notes, haa-haa-haa-haa; it's a sound that defines summer on the east coast. 

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