This is a Herring Gull to be specific. I hunted the internet to figure out which one is the one I have seen in the North East my entire life. For this bird portrait, I loosely interpreted the Narragansett Pier with its great sea wall.
So here is the funny story: When I was a kid, my mom would take us to Gosman’s Dock in Montauk Harbor Long Island. Back then, it was a lot more rustic than it is today. My memory was lots of grey docks where you could buy fish and chips and enjoy the harbor. Well, back then, all the kids would feed the seagulls. So there’d be a dock full of kids throwing french fries in the air and the fantastic seagulls would swarm the sky and catch the french fries mid-air (now a days someone would call the cops on you for creating such a scene! Ahh…such simpler uneducated times!)
I mention this because for years, whenever I saw a seagull close up, there’d always be one or two with red on their bills. Quite honestly, I deduced that since I eye-witnessed the mass consumption of french fries by seagulls that this must be ketchup on their bills. It wasn’t until I moved to Rhode Island and saw seagulls daily, that I realized those are the specific markings of the Herring Gull! Oh so silly. But really, if you were to trace these birds back to the Darwin Era, I’d bet there’d be ketchup in their history :)
I lived inland for most of my life, only in the past ten years have I had the delight of living by the sea. Another reason I knew I moved to the right place was because instead of having a rooster weather vane propped on top of my roof, I proudly displayed a large real life seagull. My last house here in RI was smack dab in the center of this little village. It was rather loud with a coffee shop next door and cars circling out front due to a large rotary in front of the house. But, we were younger and living in town was fun. So I want you to envision a busy coffee shop, 18-wheelers dropping off supplies in front of my house, cars whizzing by in three directions due to the rotary….and there at the tippity-top of the point of my roof was this giant seagull proudly displaying himself as if the mast of a ship. I loved it. I thought to myself, most of the world doesn’t get to enjoy the company of these big gray and white birds. They are a sign of the sea. Man am I lucky. Ten years later, I still feel the same way, so lucky to live where I live. I love it.
I could probably find five more stories to tell. Oh how I love to sit on the beach and watch the seagull pick pockets work in teams removing chips from people’s beach bags and how for entertainment I’d drop my toddlers in a parking lot full of seagulls and let them chase them for hours…the stories could go on…
Again, I am sure there is a good size population of humans that find this bird just as much of a nuisance as the Grackle, but to me, I simply adore seagulls. They win a top seat in my bird aficionado stand.