BONAPARTE’S GULL (non breeding)
The Bonaparte’s Gull is not a typical “sea gull.” One of only five black-headed gulls in North America, its light body, long wings, and buoyant flight make it look more like a tern. Unlike any other gull, the Bonaparte’s Gull nests in pine trees near water, which ties it to the fate of our boreal forests. Foraging over coasts and the open ocean during winter, this small gull rarely visits garbage dumps, preferring plankton, insects, and fish.
- Bonaparte’s gulls are named after a nephew of Napoleon, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800’s in America and Europe.
- The scientific name philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.
- The smallest gull seen over most of North America, it is also the only gull that regularly nests in trees.