California Gulls – The 1848 Heroes of Utah’s Pioneers

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California Gull portrait

California Gull (Larus californicus) portrait –  Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

In 1848 when the early Mormon Pioneers settled in the Salt Lake Valley and had begun to grow crops to sustain the pioneer community there was a plague of grasshoppers that threatened to destroy the crops and that could have meant starvation for the new settlers.

Huge flocks of California Gulls descended onto the grasshoppers in the valley and made tasty meals of the insects thus preventing the total loss of the crops. There is a statue in Salt Lake City that commemorates how the California Gulls rescued the crops of the early Mormon Pioneers and thus eventually the California Gull was named the state bird of Utah.

Just a bit of Utah trivia which as a bird photographer I find interesting.



  1. Linda Harris March 19, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Beautiful portrait of the gull. So pristine in breeding plumage.

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