This is Ohio’s most common gull – it is also easy to identify. The head, neck and underparts are white and the relatively short bill is yellow with a dark ring. Its back and wings are silver gray.
As you might expect gulls usually are found near large bodies of water; these were photographed near Lake Erie. Though this species is also a familiar sight in the shopping mall parking lots of the United States, where it can regularly be found congregating in large numbers.
These birds forage for food and pick up objects while swimming, walking or wading. They also steal food from other birds and frequently scavenge. They have an omnivorous diet which may include insects, fish, grain, eggs, earthworms and rodents. These birds are opportunistic and have adapted well to taking food discarded or left unattended by people.
Ring-billed Gulls nest in colonies on the ground, or sometimes in trees near lakes. They often nest near other water birds. The male and female work together to build the nest out of twigs, sticks, grasses, leaves, lichens and mosses.
Females usually lay three eggs. The eggs are light blue, green or brownish and spotted. Both the male and female both incubate the eggs for about 20 to 31 days. After the chicks hatch, both parents take care of them.
Ring-billed Gulls are highly social, occupying large colonies, especially during the breeding season. They defend small territories within nesting colonies. They engage in play, dropping objects while airborne, then swooping down to catch them.
They often associate with other species of gulls, ducks and cormorants. By forming mixed flocks, birds help each other stay alert for potential danger.