Return of Bird of the Week: Heerman’s Gull

Wickersham's Conscience

Herman’s Gull Adult, Breeding Plumage, San Diego Bay

It’s a remarkably handsome gull, with a white head and a delicate light gray neck and chest, shading to a darker gray on the wings and back. The tail is slate gray, with a narrow white terminal band. A red bill, with a black tip, graced by a tiny bit of yellow on the very tip, and black legs, the Herman’s Gull is definitely an eye catcher. In flight, the wings show a lovely white trailing margin. Of course, it’s also a bully, with inclinations to a kleptoparasitic lifestyle, but you have to admit it’s handsome.

The Heerman’s Gull is a West Coast specialist. It breeds almost exclusively on a handful of desert islands in the middle of the Gulf of California, but after breeding disperses along the Pacific Coast from southern British Columbia to Guatemala in Central America. It regularly forages…

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