a cast of characters

8.16.19 ~ Eastern Point Beach
This is probably a laughing gull somewhere on the road to adulthood.
It takes them 2-3 years to gain adult plumage.
He kept a close eye on us, staring intently as we ate our supper.
This young ring-billed gull decided to attract our attention with all sorts of antics right in front of our bench.
His long call was not very long or very loud, thankfully.
They grey freckles on his head are fetching.
Showing off some fancy footwork.
This guy kept his distance as he was performing
the amazing “feet” of standing on one leg.
He stayed like that the whole time we were eating.
Look to the right…
Head down…
Keeping his gaze forward…
Now to the left. Perhaps he was doing some gull yoga.

There were no herring gulls there that evening, not even my friend with the mangled leg. But we were well entertained by these visitors.

8 thoughts on “a cast of characters”

  1. I’ve never quite understood why birds like to stand on one leg. In the winter, I’ve always thought they do it to keep one leg at a time, warm, but then they do it in warm weather too! Maybe it’s like we sometimes lean on things.

    1. You’re correct, Val. They do it to keep warm. Now that I think of it, it was chilly and windy that evening. I wished I had brought a jacket.

      According to BirdNote(dot)org:

      “Birds’ legs have an adaptation called “rete mirabile” that minimizes heat loss. The arteries that transport warm blood into the legs lie in contact with the veins that return colder blood to the bird’s heart. The arteries warm the veins. Because the veins also cool the arteries, the bird’s feet are closer to environmental temperature and thus don’t lose as much heat as they would if they were at body temperature. And by standing on one leg, a bird reduces by half the amount of heat lost through unfeathered limbs.”

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