Western Gull: A Coastal Bloom
Gulls are notoriously difficult to identify, and because I am a complete neophyte to seabirds, my identification could be mistaken. However, I believe this is a 2nd Cycle Western Gull (Larus occidentalis), meaning that although it is an adult, it has not reached its adult plumage or breeding age.
Western Gulls acquire their adult plumage in their 4th year (or 8th molt), and generally begin breeding at the same age. Interestingly, western gulls who begin breeding at this age have a higher annual mortality rate than gulls who put off their first breeding a year or two (Cost of Reproduction and the Evolution of Deferred Breeding in the Western Gull). They do generally live for 15 years, but can live up to 25 years in the right conditions, so they still have many breeding years left.
Gulls are definitely ubiquitous along California’s coast, but is still one of God’s blossoms!
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.” Isaiah 35:1
California, U.S. | 1/640 | F13 | ISO 320 | 420mm
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