Karl Overman: Birds and more


Franklin’s Gull has had an up and down history in the Great Lakes area.  Before the late 1960s, it was a rare bird.  Then in the early 1970s it started appearing  on a regular basis.  Then it again became difficult to find except for an occasional large influx that seem to be weather related.  The 2018 bird was during a year when they were hard to find in Michigan.

I like the flight photo of the Franklin’s embedded with Bonaparte’s Gulls.  It epitomizes the search for the unusual that drives most birders.  One key technique for finding a rare bird is much like panning for gold--you go through a large volume of common stuff in hopes of finding a few nuggets of gold, avian gold for birders.  As was the case with this Franklin’s Gull, the search involved sorting through several hundred Bonaparte’s Gulls in hopes of an unusual gull.  Flocks of Bonaparte’s are much more likely to have unusual gulls in their midst than saw the Ring-billed Gulls that flock in the hundreds and thousands on agricultural fields in the Great Lakes area.

Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Modified May 4, 2019