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Wildlife Spotlight - Glaucous-winged Gull

Look closely; those white spots are all birds!
That's a lot of birds.
The glaucous-winged gull, an inconspicuous bird, a simple white and gray motif.  You'll see it everywhere up here in Alaska. It's large size makes it often mistaken for an eagle when soaring high in the sky. Which at times is a fair mistake since glauscous-winged gulls have been known to kill and eat other smaller birds, even small mammals. These birds also happen to play an integral part as food for other birds of prey and spraying nutrient rich "matter" out their rear end. 

Along side these large birds you will often see their smaller cousin, the kittiwake. We have two types of kittiwake, the black and the red legged. The only way to tell them apart is a visual check of the legs. Kittiwakes love to feed on small oily fish. You will often see a large gathering of these birds above the water when a bait ball (school of small fish) has gathered. These bait balls also tend to attract whales, keeping an eye on a pack of kittiwake can sometimes reward you with a sight of some blubber.

Well these facts about gulls may not impress you, you may even ignore them when you're out and about. Yet there is no way to ignore either of these birds at their nesting grounds. The stench and the sound are over whelming. The sound and smell of thousands of gulls may not seem appealing but it is truly a sight to be seen...preferably from the inside of the boat.

~ Jack