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Gull? Not a gull?


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#1 robinv

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 03:38 AM

In an industrial area of Chicago. Rather abandoned. Forgive me. This will be long.

Drove in to this lonesome place that I always go to and the Seagulls that normally sit along the building began circling above my car and squawking. It was as if they wanted to attack the car. Normally, they ignore me.

Days later I drove in and there was this huge (hawk sized) bird on the concrete. Grayish-brown. Gull-like. Twice as large as our Seagulls here. If I pulled the car up close he would move to a more secure place (under a parked semi). As I was having lunch I watched him in my rear-view and he kept trying to fly but had a bum wing.

Several days later I drove in again and the usual Seagulls went after my car again. What the hell? I had lunch. I noticed the gray bird again on the concrete. The usual fifty or so regular Seagulls who line the roof were gone, but there were two left. One was on the roof to the right of the gray bird... the other on a street lamp to the left of the bird. And I thought.... no way. So I opened the sun roof and pulled the car slowly towards the gray bird and watched the others as I drove. Damned if they didn't get agitated as I approached him and began 'attacking' my car as I grew close. I passed the lame gull and headed for the exit and the Seagulls followed me out. They were obviously protecting him.... this bird so unlike them.

.............

Didn't see him for a while and then one day I drove into the lonesome place and damned if he wasn't on the edge of the roof. The wing had healed. And days later, I found him on another roof nearby.

............

Yesterday a regular Seagull at work found some food in the parking lot. He grabbed it in his mouth and did his Drama-Diva call and two other Seagulls were going after him, until...this huge gray bird swooped out of nowhere. I thought it was a hawk at first (there is a pair in the area). The Seagulls scattered and the one with food went south with the gray bird right behind him. I lost sight of them.

..........

Hours later I was watering plants and heard a cry....rough and crow-like. Looked up and saw the gray bird in flight.

............

I've looked up every kind of gull. Nothing looks like him. Nothing huge and gray. Any suggestions?

Thank you.

#2 steven_sumner

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:38 AM

Could have been a Tern of some sort. They can look pretty big. The Forster's Tern has a rough, crow like call.

#3 Joejr14

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:37 PM

The problem is a Forster's tern isn't going to be bigger than any gull in Chicago. Not to sound silly, but are you sure this wasn't an immature gull? Were you able to see any features that would lead you to a raptor ID on the larger bird?

#4 sandylee

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:36 PM

Possibly a young Caspian Tern? Behavior and voice sound about right.

#5 robinv

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:40 PM

No. Not a Tern. It was definitely Gull-like. I'm thinking it's a bird that got blown off course but no search I do looks like it. I'll keep a camera handy and hope that he comes back. Thanks for the replies.

#6 Safeleo

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 05:31 PM

Great black backed gull maybe, they hang aroung herring gulls. Or a shearwater.

#7 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 09:31 PM

Great black backed gull maybe, they hang aroung herring gulls. Or a shearwater.


Great-Blacked Backed would be a pretty impressive find for Chicago, even in winter. Shearwaters are pelagic species and not found inland. Sounds like an Immature Ring-Billed or Herring Gull to me.

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