Juvenile Claw-billed Gull


An unusual sighting for California this time of year. Clawbills don’t usually arrive till late May.

10 responses

  1. great shot!!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 4:41 am

  2. Climate change is creating a change in the seasonal migrations of many birds particularly in the west. I would call this photograph “Survival of the fittest.” Thanks for sharing.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:51 am

  3. LOL

    April 25, 2012 at 6:54 am

  4. Stunning shot!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 7:07 am

  5. What a beautiful picture. I love it.

    April 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

  6. Sandy Slichter

    Heavens! Late May you say? I’ll keep an eye out for these, life birds for sure!

    April 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

  7. bikesbirdsbeaches

    Love it! Up here on the Olympic Peninsula I just photographed a Sunflower Seastar-billed Glaucous-winged Gull.

    April 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

  8. Siobhan Ruck

    It’s beyond juvenile. I can’t remember if clawbills are 3-year or 4-year gulls, but I think this one looks like a second year in any case. You can see that it’s getting new feathers in the upper wing coverts/scaps. Also, the claws are transitioning from the black of juveniles into the red of adults.

    April 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    • I always appreciate your expertise in aging birds. Nice to have a molt expert on call. Didn’t know the claws transitioned in the second year. They have such high variability I assumed this indicator was unreliable.

      April 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      • Siobhan Ruck

        Well, the rate of change is quite variable, so you can’t use that color alone to age them specifically. But the change starts happening in their second year, so if you see some of the red tones emerging you know they’re past their hatch year.

        April 26, 2012 at 5:45 am

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