I’ll have to admit that until I seriously took up bird watching a few (several??) years ago I had a rather low opinion of “seagulls.” Raised in Seattle, I tended to identify gulls with garbage cans or garbage dumps. I even thought there was a single gull species, “seagulls.”
It didn’t take long before I learned not to say “seagulls” around veteran birders who knew just how meaningless that term was. Nor did it take long to learn that several varieties of gulls never see the “sea.” One birder loved to ask if I would call a gull that lived in the bay a “Bagul.”
I also began to realize I was not seeing a single variety of gull every time I saw them. I was a little surprised to read on the internet that there are 17 different varieties of gulls in the United States alone, and 55 different varieties worldwide. I know I’ve seen at least 7 different varieties in the Puget Sound area in the last five or six years.
The Ring-Billed Gull, for instance,
is a medium-sized gull with a distinctive ring around its beak.
The Bonaparte Gull
is a rather beautiful, petite gull, much smaller than the Glaucous-Winged Gull that are common in the Puget Sound.