The Conscience of a Birder

Well, rats.

As the breathless tone of yesterday’s entry reveals, I was excited yesterday morning at Jericho Park to find the bird above, which I gleefully ticked off as a Western Gull–or something very, very close to it.

As I pondered, though, the pale eye and, especially, the orange tint to the orbital ring started to worry me. I sent the photos off to a couple of friends with massively more expertise and experience than I’ll ever have with these birds, and the answers came in: Steve said he would have called it a hybrid “but who can really tell,” and Guy agreed, noting among other things that the mantle was too pale even for northern occidentalis.

So this one goes down as a dark hybrid or introgressant, and my search for a pure Western Gull in British Columbia continues.

I now read a different meaning into the bird’s posture.