Portrait Of A Winter Ring-billed Gull With Snow On Its Bill

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Ring-billed Gull with snow on its bill, Salt Lake County, UtahRing-billed Gull with snow on its bill – Nikon D500, f9, 1/2000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

During the winter I am able to get close up portraits of the gulls that visit my local pond by staying in a vehicle and using it as a mobile blind and for me that is thrilling because I rarely get close up photo of gulls at any other time of the year. It has been nearly two years since I took this photo so I don’t recall if this Ring-billed Gull was calling or if it just opened its bill because another gull got too close to this one but I liked the open bill against the out of focus, icy blue water of the pond.

I’m not sure how this Ring-bill Gull got the snow on its bill but when I looked through my viewfinder I liked all of fine details I had in the snow, the bill and the white plumage of the gull and I felt I had to take photos of it.  This photo also shows the ring around the bill that gave this species its name plus the orange colored gape that turns to red during the breeding season. Those snowflakes on the on the bill really draw my eyes to this Ring-billed Gull portrait.

There are times when I share photos of gulls that I feel the need to defend them because there are so many people that dislike or even hate gulls when personally I find them just as beautiful and fascinating as any other of the bird species I photograph.  Perhaps I should try to stop feeling that way and just let my photos of their beauty speak for themselves.

The radar/satellite looks promising this morning so maybe I will be able to get out into the field to look for some birds today!

Life is good.


Ring-billed Gull facts and information:

Larus delawarensis

  • Ring-billed Gulls are medium-sized gulls with slim short bills that show a black ring at the tip when they are adults. They are a soft gray above with white heads during the breeding season and brownish streaked heads in nonbreeding plumage. They have yellow legs.
  • They are sociable gulls and will fly and flock together in the hundreds or thousands.
  • Ring-billed Gulls can be found at inland bodies of water during the breeding season and coastal beaches during the winter. They can also be found at dumps, parking lots, and freshly plowed agricultural fields.
  • During the 19th century these gulls were hunted for their plumage.
  • They lay 2 to 4 eggs which hatch in 21 to 28 days, both sexes incubate.
  • They are migratory.
  • A group of gulls can be called a “squabble”, “flotilla”, “screech” and “scavenging” of gulls.
  • Ring-billed Gulls can live up to 32 years.


  1. April Olson December 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Beautiful image!

  2. Elephants Child December 8, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Glorious portrait.

  3. Pepe Forte December 8, 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Great pic! Vermeer could not have done it better. Thanks Mia.

  4. Bruce Grosjean December 8, 2018 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Beautiful portrait!

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