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280 days of Urbpandemonium #136

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Much larger than ring-billed gulls, herring gulls Larus argentatus* are about the size of red-tailed hawks. They are the most frequently encountered gull in North America, found from the Aleutians to the Caribbean. They are scavengers very well adapted to life near human activity. I've seen a wild population surviving on pizza crusts on Revere Beach, and I've seen one kill and consume a pigeon on Mass Ave in Cambridge. If their populations get too large, the populations of terns and other more sensitive species suffer, because herring gulls are ravenous predators of other birds' nestlings.

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It takes herring gulls four years to develop adult plumage. This banded youngster was probably hatched last year. Its neighbor in the lower left corner is a year or two older.

* Silver gull

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