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      Found a baby bird or a sick or injured bird?   07/11/17

      Here is a short article with advice for what to do if you find a baby bird or one that appears to be sick or injured. Bird rescue article Please feel free to post here if you have questions or need more help.
albur18

type and age of gull

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Seen in SW PA today.  Only two expected gulls right now are ring-billed and herring.  I believe this is a herring gull because of the large bill and head and pink legs.  If so, is it a second cycle due to the fact that it is molting in some new plain gray scapulars?  Any specific traits to look at would be much appreciated!  Thanks!

31398146304_3b9fc8df47_k.jpgDSCN2419 by albur_18, on Flickr

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I would lean Herring...head, bill, and the Silly Putty looking legs/feet.

Edit: Meant Silly Putty, not Play Dough :)

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I concur with Herring. It looks young, maybe a first cycle (first winter) bird, but I don't know ages too well (just Eastern Gulls)

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If indeed a herring, then I believe the gray scapulars coming in makes it a second-cycle vs first, but even this I am not sure of.  Anyone else know if the new gray scapulars can be used to determine this?

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I can't say specifically about the scapulars, but I think second winter based on the overall whiter mottling, and the smaller dark tip on the bill.

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Any gull experts out there that can confirm and answer the question about the gray scapulars?

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I think there should be an answer. For what it may be worth, I have attached a page from an old but useful book--Birds of Massachusetts and other New England States by Edward Howe Forbush, Vol. 1, 1929. The answer may lie somewhere between "Description" and "Molts". I am not versed enough to interpret all of this information. Perhaps you or another expert can determine if this is helpful.

Forbush p72.rtf

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Yes, this appears to be a second-year bird, due to the marbled coverts and small amount of gray coming into the mantle, along with the bicolored bill. However, I am not completely sure (I think there should be more gray on the mantle at this time).

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First-year (Herring Gull), as discerned by the relatively pointed and brownish primaries, bill pattern (extensive dark tip extending along cutting edge nearly to gape), all wing coverts juvenile feathering.  The preformative molt in Herring Gull is exceedingly variable in extent and often includes some to many lower scapulars.

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I think it's worth pointing out that the terminology becomes confusing this time of year. A 1 winter (or 1st cycle) Herring Gull is actually a 2nd year bird in January 2017, since it was born in 2016. 

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On 1/14/2017 at 11:42 AM, Tony Leukering said:

First-year (Herring Gull), as discerned by the relatively pointed and brownish primaries, bill pattern (extensive dark tip extending along cutting edge nearly to gape), all wing coverts juvenile feathering.  The preformative molt in Herring Gull is exceedingly variable in extent and often includes some to many lower scapulars.

I see your points but if, for example, you look at the last picture in the last link shared by HamRHead, you will see the question I am raising.  Its not the fact that it is molting scapulars that is making me question the first-winter age, its that the scapulars it is molting into are plain gray.  The last picture in the sibley article says that the 1st winter bird has replaced its juvenile scapulars with new dark blotchy ones (not plain gray).  Wouldnt this mean that herring gulls do not get plain gray feathers anywhere on the back/wings until 2nd winter, when they begin to molt into their 3rd cycle gray plumage?

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