Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hey Man, Nice Bird: Heermann's Gull

Before we move on to today's bird, a brief peek behind the scenes of the workings of Amateurnithologist dot blogspot dot com. The way we, the Amateurnithologist, work, is we take nice pictures of birds, and then do our best to identify them later. The resource we use for this generally has been spectacular webpage whatbird.com, which has a remarkable bird identifier tool. When your amateurnithologist cannot find a bird using this, it generally means the bird in question is something worth looking into. Like perhaps the bird he is of an unusual coloration (non-breeding season, juvenile, female). Or the bird is not really considered a species at all. Or the bird is uncommon enough that it doesn't come up in searches as a likely result. Such was the case with today's bird, who your bird blogger had to identify through a thrifty combination of google image match and wikipedia. Prepare yourself for Amateurnithologist's second ever (semi) endangered bird:
Heermann's Gull
Pacific Grove, California, USA
Member of the Gull Family
*~true bird fact~ He gets a lot of his food by means of piracy, mainly stealing fish from Brown Pelicans and California Sea Lions (!) This means he is brave, or maybe a jerk. Perhaps both.
How Rare is He? Estimates are that there are about 300,000 individuals. Which sounds like a lot until you hear that 90% of them live on a small Island called Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California, and that they breed nowhere else in the world. They are classified as Near Threatened, but are expected to be ok, unless something drastic changes.

Exotic and Impressive, like a foreign street performer
Never had much formal education
Seldom troubled by the problems of the world
A bird to call if you need some dirty work done
Kind of reminds you of a ninja, actually

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