Hey guys, welcome back. Today, a massive gull; the glaucous gull. While we did the largest gull species in the world some time back, the glaucous is a very very close second. In fact, while the great black-backed gull is on average larger, occasional individual glaucous gulls can get bigger. The glaucous gull is on average heavier than the great black-backed, so in terms of weight, this is the larger bird. Ok, all that is well and good, but just how large is the glaucous gull? Imagine the largest red-tailed hawk you’ve ever seen. This bird is larger. Typical wingspans of the glaucous gull are in excess of 5 feet with some individuals having wingspans nearing 6 feet. They are pale gray on the back, and have no black on them at all. In coloration, they look most like the Iceland gull, in the east anyway, but they are twice the size.
There is another gull that they can be confused with, and that’s the glaucous-winged gull. Not only are the names nearly the same, but their coloration is as well. The glaucous-winged is found only along the Pacific Coast and are about half the size. Birders of the Pacific Northwest, however, have the added challenge of hybrids between the two species.
I remember my first, and to date only, sighting. I was visiting Governor’s Island, a small island in New York Harbor. It was a cold, windy, cloudy May day. Atop a hill looking at the view of Manhattan, a huge, almost entirely white gull flew by. This thing was massive. It could only be one thing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to get my camera out, and never got close enough to it again for a photo. There were a couple here along Lake Erie last winter, but I missed them. That’s ok, I’m sure I’ll see one eventually. Next up, we have another oriole species. See you then!