Bird of the Week

We’re going to close out March with two birds with unique voices. The raucous Laughing Gull and, next week, the haunting sound of one of America’s most iconic birds.

Remember when you were at the beach and looking forward to a picnic with the soothing sound of the sea and then…Marauders arrive! Laughing Gulls along the seashore swooping in to grab a sandwich or patrolling the boardwalk snatching french fries, sometimes right out of your hand! These are bold, opportunistic birds and unlike many bird species they actually seem to like being around humans. Laughing Gulls are social, adaptable, and inventive scavengers often seen at landfills and dumpsters.

The Laughing Gull’s adaptable feeding habits are a large part of its success. These noisy gulls will eat a variety of insects, fish, shellfish, crabs, and even the eggs and young of other birds. They will snatch fish from large birds like pelicans sometimes even landing on their backs or head to grab the fish!

The Laughing Gull is certainly one bird that is well matched to its name with a raucous call that sounds like “ha-ha-ha-ha-haah-haah-haah-ha-ha-ha.”

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Laughing Gull
Fun Facts

Laughing Gulls were indiscriminately hunted in the late 19th century for their feathers and eggs.

Their far-ranging feeding habitats often expose them to toxic pesticides and oil, particularly along the Gulf Coast.

Laughing Gulls take three years to reach full adult colors.

They have a life span of 15-22 years.

A group of gulls is called a colony, squabble, flotilla, scavenging or gullery

Laughing Gulls are monogamous and form long-term pair bonds.

If a male can’t find a mate, he may still start building a nest platform and use it in order to attract females.

Laughing Gulls live in colonies that can consist of thousands of nests.

Click here to hear “the laugh”

Click here to for a rare glimpse into a Laughing Gull colony.

Click here to watch Laughing Gulls stealing food from pelicans.