Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Ring-billed Gull for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897, From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

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THE RING-BILLED GULL.

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HE Ring-billed Gull is a common species throughout eastern North America, breeding throughout the northern tier of the United States, whose northern border is the limit of its summer home. As a rule in winter it is found in Illinois and south to the Gulf of Mexico. It is an exceedingly voracious bird, continually skimming over the surface of the water in search of its finny prey, and often following shoals of fish to great distances. The birds congregate in large numbers at their breeding places, which are rocky islands or headlands in the ocean. Most of the families of Gulls are somewhat migratory, visiting northern regions in summer to rear their young. The following lines give with remarkable fidelity the wing habits and movements of this tireless bird:

“On nimble wing the gull
Sweeps booming by, intent to cull
Voracious, from the billows’ breast,
Marked far away, his destined feast.
Behold him now, deep plunging, dip
His sunny pinion’s sable tip
In the green wave; now highly skim
With wheeling flight the water’s brim;
Wave in blue sky his silver sail
Aloft, and frolic with the gale,
Or sink again his breast to lave,
And float upon the foaming wave.
Oft o’er his form your eyes may roam,
Nor know him from the feathery foam,
Nor ’mid the rolling waves, your ear
On yelling blast his clamor hear.”

This Gull lives principally on fish, but also greedily devours insects. He also picks up small animals or animal substances with which he meets, and, like the vulture, devours them even in a putrid condition. He walks well and quickly, swims bouyantly, lying in the water like an air bubble, and dives with facility, but to no great depth.

As the breeding time approaches the Gulls begin to assemble in flocks, uniting to form a numerous host. Even upon our own shores their nesting places are often occupied by many hundred pairs, whilst further north they congregate in countless multitudes. They literally cover the rocks on which their nests are placed, the brooding parents pressing against each other.

Wilson says that the Gull, when riding bouyantly upon the waves and weaving a sportive dance, is employed by the poets as an emblem of purity, or as an accessory to the horrors of a storm, by his shrieks and wild piercing cries. In his habits he is the vulture of the ocean, while in grace of motion and beauty of plumage he is one of the most attractive of the splendid denizens of the ocean and lakes.

The Ring-billed Gull’s nest varies with localities. Where there is grass and sea weed, these are carefully heaped together, but where these fail the nest is of scanty material. Two to four large oval eggs of brownish green or greenish brown, spotted with grey and brown, are hatched in three or four weeks, the young appearing in a thick covering of speckled down. If born on the ledge of a high rock, the chicks remain there until their wings enable them to leave it, but if they come from the shell on the sand of the beach they trot about like little chickens. During the first few days they are fed with half-digested food from the parents’ crops, and then with freshly caught fish.

The Gull rarely flies alone, though occasionally one is seen far away from the water soaring in majestic solitude above the tall buildings of the city.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee


Lee’s Addition:

The Ring-billed Gull is a member of the Laridae Family in the Charadriiformes Order. They are mentioned in Bible’s New King James Version as one of the birds not to eat.

the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; (Deuteronomy 14:15 NKJV)

See Bible Birds – Sea Gulls and Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls

We see them on a frequent basis here in Central Florida. They not only like the many lakes here in Polk County, but also many of the parking lots. Of course as you head to either of our shores, Gulf or Atlantic, many more are seen.

Ring-billed Gull (Winter Adult), Tampa Bay, Florida

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Loggerhead Shrike

Previous Article – The Black-crowned Night Heron

Wordless Birds

Links:

Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Ring-billed Gull – All About Birds

Ring-billed Gull – Wikipedia

Field Guide: Birds of the World – Larus delawarensis (Ring-billed Gull Photos)

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Birds Vol 1 #3 – The Black Tern

Black Tern, Mother and young with eggs, for Birds Illustrated

Black Tern, Mother and young with eggs, for Birds Illustrated

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. March, 1897 No. 3

THE BLACK TERN.

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HE TERN,” says Mr. F. M. Woodruff, of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, “is the only representative of the long-winged swimmers which commonly nests with us on our inland fresh water marshes, arriving early in May in its brooding plumage of sooty black. The color changes in the autumn to white, and a number of the adult birds may be found, in the latter part of July, dotted and streaked here and there with white. On the first of June, 1891, I found a large colony of Black Terns nesting on Hyde Lake, Cook County, Illinois. As I approached the marsh a few birds were seen flying high in the air, and, as I neared the nesting site, the flying birds gave notes of alarm, and presently the air was filled with the graceful forms of this beautiful little bird. They circled about me, darting down to within a few feet of my head, constantly uttering a harsh, screaming cry. As the eggs are laid upon the bare ground, which the brownish and blackish markings so closely resemble, I was at first unable to find the nests, and discovered that the only way to locate them was to stand quietly and watch the birds. When the Tern is passing over the nest it checks its flight, and poises for a moment on quivering wings. By keeping my eyes on this spot I found the nest with very little trouble. The complement of eggs, when the bird has not been disturbed, is usually three. These are laid in a saucer shaped structure of dead vegetation, which is scraped together, from the surface of the wet, boggy ground. The bird figured in the plate had placed its nest on the edge of an old muskrat house, and my attention was attracted to it by the fact that upon the edge of the rat house, where it had climbed to rest itself, was the body of a young dabchick, or piedbilled grebe, scarcely two and one-half inches long, and not twenty-four hours out of the egg, a beautiful little ball of blackish down, striped with brown and white. From the latter part of July to the middle of August large flocks of Black Terns may be seen on the shores of our larger lakes on their annual migration southward.”

The Rev. P. B. Peabody, in alluding to his observation of the nests of the Tern, says: “Amid this floating sea of aquatic nests I saw an unusual number of well constructed homes of the Tern. Among these was one that I count a perfect nest. It rested on the perfectly flat foundation of a small decayed rat house, which was about fourteen inches in diameter. The nest, in form, is a truncated cone (barring the cavity), was about eight inches high and ten inches in diameter. The hollow—quite shallow—was about seven inches across, being thus unusually large. The whole was built up of bits of rushes, carried to the spot, these being quite uniform in length—about four inches.” After daily observation of the Tern, during which time he added much to his knowledge of the bird, he pertinently asks: “Who shall say how many traits and habits yet unknown may be discovered through patient watching of community-breeding birds, by men enjoying more of leisure for such delightful studies than often falls to the lot of most of us who have bread and butter to earn and a tiny part of the world’s work to finish?”

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) by J Fenton

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) by J Fenton


Lee’s Addition:

The Terns are in the Charadriiformes Order and the Laridae Family is part of that order. Laridaes include Gulls, Terns and Skimmers. The Tern, per se, is not a Gull, but are related and would be close in “kind.” The Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls gives several articles that have been written here. The Sea Gull is found in the list of unclean birds given in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; (Leviticus 11:16 NKJV)

“The Black Tern, Chlidonias niger, is a small tern generally found in or near inland water in Europe and North America. As its name suggests, it has predominantly dark plumage. Adult are 25 cm (9.75 in) long, with a wing span 6/1 cm (24 in), and weigh 62 g (2.2 oz). They have short dark legs and a short, weak-looking black bill, measuring 27–28 mm, nearly as long as the head. The bill is long, slender, and looks slightly decurved. The North American race, C. n. surinamensis, is distinguishable from the European form in all plumages, and is considered by some to be a separate species.

In flight, the build appears slim. The wing-beats are full and dynamic, and flight is often erratic as it dives to the surface for food; similar to other tern species.

North American Black terns migrate to the coasts of northern South America, some to the open ocean. Old World birds winter in Africa.
Unlike the “white” Sterna terns, these birds do not dive for fish, but forage on the wing picking up items at or near the water’s surface or catching insects in flight. They mainly eat insects and fish as well as amphibians.

The North American population has declined in recent times due to loss of habitat. Point Pelee National Park in Canada boasts a robust population of black terns.” (Wikipedia)

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) by J Fenton

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) by J Fenton

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 March 1897 No 3 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for March 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Meadowlark

Previous Article – The Return of the Birds

Wordless Birds

Links:

All About Birds – Black Tern

Black Tern with eggs at nest photo – ARKive

Black Tern – Wikipedia

Ad in the Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Ad in the Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

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