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Thayer's Gull. Photo taken by Kaaren Perry, January 12, 2014.

I love Birds. I honestly can’t remember life without them. I met my first Parakeet when I was six years-old. His name was Gallahead. He lived next door. I still have one of his feathers. I’ve since lived with a Cockatiel, a Parakeet, and a yellow-naped Amazon…Oh, and four Ducks. Living with birds is every bit as Divine as is sighting them.

I’ve been birding since I was eight or nine years-old. My mum bought a bird feeder and shortly thereafter a guidebook. I wish I’d kept a list of the many species we identified as I was growing up. A few I’m positive of, like the Pileated Woodpecker and the Ring-necked Pheasants, Cardinals and Northern Juncos, House Sparrows, and my friend the American Crow. Others, I vaguely remember, but I’m not positive I actually saw them, like the Rose-breasted Grossbeak. Was that a real sighting, or one I longed for? I bet if I had a list I’d have at least fifty species positively ID’d back then. As it stands, my lifelist was at only 45, until today.

Today, I identified my first gull, Thayer’s Gull. He was amidst a small flock of various ages, some immature with more clear brown streaking. One flew close and swam a while, turning all around and showing off enough for me to see his beautiful black and white spotted wingtips and strong, thick neck and head. His beak, bright yellow with a red spot, was strong and full. He was a proud fella. I’m thankful for the sighting.

Gulls are beautiful creatures. They’re omnivores and scavangers, like Crows. I suppose it’s no wonder I love them. According to Arin Murphy-Hiscock, they’re symbolic of balance, adaptability, peace, and freedom. Given their ability to find food no matter where they are, to soar inland or out to sea with equal skill, and their practical nature, I can see all that.

To me, they’re cousins. Gulls often travel with Ravens out on the coast. Inland, the Crows often hang with them as well. They’re like an extended family. Together, they make use of whatever’s available and, honestly, look pretty contented doing so. Sure, they’re sometimes a little rag-tag, but hey, that’s right up my alley. Go figure one of the Gulls would be my first coastal bird identification.

Thayer’s Gull holds lifelist number 46 and Oregon number 27 in my book.

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