Ring-billed Gulls at Kutras Lake

by Larry Jordan on January 30, 2010

Ring-billed Gull at Kutras Lake, Redding, California photos by Larry Jordan

Kutras Lake is actually an outcropping of the Sacramento River in Redding, California.  There are many places to bird adjacent to the downtown area as you can see on this map.  The most popular spots being Turtle Bay and Kutras Lake.

If you click on the link to Turtle Bay, make sure to check out the EagleCam.  The Bald Eagles have been nesting at the edge of the Turtle Bay marsh area, on the West end of the highway 44 bridge, for many years now.  The last couple of years, successfully raising young while the bridge is being worked on.

But this story is about the Ring-billed Gull.  We see them here in the winter, in their non-breeding plumage.  At Kutras Lake, they are often seen with Herring Gulls, California Gulls and Glaucous-winged Gulls.  On occasion Western, Thayer’s, Mew and Laughing Gulls are spotted at Kutras Lake also.  I took the following images of this adult Ring-billed Gull, apparently in a somewhat aggressive display causing the surrounding birds to move away.

The most entertaining aspect of the Ring-billed Gull for me are their aerial maneuvers.  The adult birds will drop objects, then swoop down after them as if to show off their skills to the onlookers.  They are very skilled fliers and people love to toss pieces of bread into the air and watch as they snatch them up effortlessly.  Their normal diet however consists of mainly of fish, insects, earthworms, rodents and grain.

The previous photos were taken on an overcast day back in mid December but this last week I went out looking for some rarities at Kutras (like the Red-throated Loon or the recently seen Tundra Swans).  No luck with the uncommon birds but I did get these in-flight shots.

Have a bird filled weekend starting with Bird Photography Weekly!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Eileen January 31, 2010 at 5:25 am

Larry, great post on the Ring Billed Gull. You have some awesome closeups too.
.-= Eileen´s last blog ..Chesapeake skywatch =-.


Rob Ripma January 31, 2010 at 8:17 am

Wow! That is a fantastic series of Ring-billed shots!
.-= Rob Ripma´s last blog ..SkyWatch Friday – Everglades NP =-.


chris January 31, 2010 at 11:06 am

Wow… That’s gorgeous Larry. I’ve been struggling with this guy… We have some over here and have been having them since last year… I”m a bad gull ID guy 😉 and tend to confound them with common gull ;-( But i got one on Friday for sure, a first winter that I could add on my year list… but nothing compare to yours! I mean these shots are splendid, and the portraits awesome!!! A beauty this psot!


jason January 31, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Gorgeous photos, Larry! I especially like the head up display sequence. It’s funny and enlightening that the other gulls moved away. I know they’re terribly common and called “parking lot gulls” for a reason, but I’m always enthralled by them.


Mick January 31, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Great photos of the Gull. The last in-flight shot is spectacular.
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Red-capped Plover and Red-necked Stints =-.


bob k January 31, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Great photos of the Ring-billed doing it’s “thing”!
.-= bob k´s last blog ..‘Sucker Fans =-.


Larry January 31, 2010 at 7:24 pm

@Eileen thank you very much

@Rob thanks for the comment

@Chris the ID here for these guys is pretty straight forward. It is the most common gull species and the only one with a complete black ring around the adult’s bill

@Jason thanks. Common they are but interesting to watch, I agree

@Mick thanks. I do like in-flight shots too

@Bob thanks, they do some interesting things, those Ring-bills


Kelly January 31, 2010 at 8:34 pm

…oh….I loved this post. Your series of photos are gorgeous. That second photo is just beautiful.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..On robins and blueberries… =-.


Amber Coakley January 31, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Hi Larry – I like all the “attitude” pics. Gulls are so entertaining to watch, even though they are bullies and thieves! I’ve witnessed their raucous ways. 🙂
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..I Kinda Forgot to Mention… =-.


Nicole January 31, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Those shots are totally beautiful.
They must be great to watch, such posers 😀
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Circling Cormorants =-.


Jill February 1, 2010 at 12:05 am

sweet pictures of the Ring-billed! They’re all pretty awesome, but the open-mouth and the flight shots…niiice!
.-= Jill´s last blog ..Trinidad and Tobago Day 8: The Boas! =-.


phil February 1, 2010 at 12:55 am

Hi Larry, Great close-ups of Ring- billed which turns up only occasionally over her. Phil
.-= phil´s last blog ..Finch Fest =-.


ramblingwoods February 1, 2010 at 8:10 pm

You got some really great photos Larry. I am so bad at gull ID and I should learn more as I live in a great place to see them..but I do see them in parking lots..Interesting display too…Michelle


NatureFooostep Fåglar/Birds February 2, 2010 at 2:59 am

clever birds and great photographs. I like images that shows the birds behaviors. 🙂
.-= NatureFooostep Fåglar/Birds´s last blog ..Större hackspett – Dendrocopos major – great spotted woodpecker =-.


Ali February 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Awesome shots, as always! I love the series, they really do look entertaining.


Neil February 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Great shots love them all.
.-= Neil´s last blog ..Peaceful Dove & Red-browed Finch =-.


Wilde About Birds February 5, 2013 at 10:12 am

Thanks for your help identifying the gull on my blog post. From Findlay


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