[Tweeters] Mew Gull's Don't

Michael Hobbs BirdMarymoor at frontier.com
Thu Mar 15 12:23:00 PDT 2012

At Marymoor Park, all winter long, there is almost always a flock of Mew Gulls (50-400 typically) that comes in and feeds on the grass soccer fields just after sunrise, staying for 0.5-4 hours depending on the day. There are almost always Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged Gulls mixed in with them, feeding side by side. I’ve never noticed any aggression between the species – they’re all just walking fairly close together across the grass feeding on worms and grubs.

We haven’t had the large flocks of Mews for the last few weeks, but today there were about 25 gulls present, mostly sticking together, that included at least 1 Mew Gull, along with a couple of Ring-billed, 2+ California, a Herring Gull (very unusual for Marymoor), and the rest Glaucous-winged and Glaucous-winged x Western Hybrids

== Michael Hobbs
== Kirkland, WA
== http://www.marymoor.org/birding.htm
== http://www.marymoor.org/BirdBlog.htm
== birdmarymoor at frontier.com

From: Dennis Paulson
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2012 8:29 AM
To: TWEETERS tweeters
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Mew Gull's Don't


One reason might be because Mew Gulls are deathly afraid of the larger species. It is a rare roost, in any habitat type, that contains both Mew and Glaucous-winged. For years I have been looking for a photo op of both of them standing together, and it still hasn't happened. I don't know if big gulls would actually try a predation attempt or if they represent a source of potential kleptoparasitism that is so guaranteed that the small gulls just stay away from them. I don't even have a photo of the two flying together, although I've been alert for that as well.

They also don't eat the same things. Mew Gulls do not come to thrown bread, although everything else from Ring-billed size up does so, also Laughing Gulls in the East. But not Bonaparte's, not Franklin's, and not Mew. Probably not kittiwakes either, but I haven't had the pleasure of testing that hypothesis. But not being stimulated to feed on the same things, maybe roosting together isn't appropriate.

Now you're going to say that Mew Gulls still don't roost in parking lots even when there isn't a big gull in sight, and I've got no glib answer to that. They do roost on grass fields, plowed fields and sandy beaches, but maybe their little feet are just too delicate for the tarmac. They also roost on gravel beaches, but I don't recall if I have seen them on solid rock substrates like where you see a lot of Heermann's and kittiwakes, as well as large gulls, roosting on the outer coast. Maybe the parking lot just looks like a rock substrate, and that's not where they rest.

There's another tweeters challenge - find and document Mew Gulls on a parking lot!


"Big gulls don't cry."--Fergie.

On Mar 14, 2012, at 11:26 PM, jeff gibson wrote:

Mew Gull's don't seem to like parking lots. Up here in Everett the 10th street boatlaunch parking lot, several acres of tarmac, is often full of parked gull's of most of the white-headed varieties. Mostly Glaucous-wings (and hybrids) and Ring-billed, along with occasional California, Herring, Thayer's, Heerman's, or Glaucous, depending on season. And in season Caspian Terns also park out there. But just about never a Mew.
I can't say they won't, but Mew's just don't seem to be the parking type. Immediately North of the parking lot are the tidal 'maulsby mud-flats'. Plenty of Mew Gull's out there in Winter, only yards away sometimes, from the parking lot. It does seem that there's more of them congregated near freshwater rivulets on the North side of the flats, if that means anything, but then all the other gull's are out there with them.

The lot being a popular human gull-feeder spot, possibly there's some gull union action going on that Mews aren't members of, like the "United White-head's for White bread" union. Whateverett.

Jeff Gibson
Everett Wa

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Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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