Photo by Derek Davis

A pair of gulls rest on a rock at Back Cove. Herring gulls, now ubiquitous and probably the best-known gull on the Atlantic coast, became quite rare during the 19th century when they were hunted for their eggs and feathers. Buy this Photo

Photo by Ben McCanna

A non-breeding adult herring gull is ready for its closeup. Herring gulls take four years to fully reach adult plumage, and their appearance changes considerably during that time. Buy this Photo

Photo by Gregory Rec

A gull perches on a seaweed-covered rock near Nubble Light in York. Gulls are possibly the most difficult group of birds to identify. They have a long transition to adulthood – with juvenile, breeding and non-breeding plumages – and a habit of mating with different gull species and producing hybrids. Buy this Photo

Photo by Derek Davis

Gulls float around the docks of Custom House Wharf in Portland. Gulls live by the sea, but also along rivers, lakes, landfills, dumps and parking lots. Seagulls, birders will tell you, simply don’t exist. Buy this Photo

Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

What’s more Maine than a gull in flight with a lobster boat in the background? This one is at Pine Point in Scarborough. Buy this Photo

Photo by Ben McCanna

A juvenile herring gull prepares to land on a rooftop in the Old Port. Gulls usually nest on the ground, but with humans around, will choose trees or even rooftops. Buy this Photo

Photo by Derek Davis

Gulls perch on top of buildings along Portland’s Custom House Wharf. Gulls have the reputation for being, well, walking garbage dumps. They eat just about anything, including carrion and the eggs and young of other birds. Buy this Photo

Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Gulls jockey for position in the parking lot at Pine Point after a visitor threw a treat out the window. It was caught by the gull in the center. Strangely, research in the United Kingdom showed herring gulls tend to prefer food already handled by humans. Buy this Photo

Photo by Ben McCanna

A gull flies past a waxing crescent moon. Gulls are smart. They drop hard-shelled mollusks onto rocks to break them open, follow plows in fields for freshly turned-up grubs and worms. They also will stand in a group and stamp their feet on the ground to imitate rainfall and trick earthworms to come to the surface, which they’ll then eat. Buy this Photo

Photo by Michele McDonald

Gulls would never win a popularity contest. Some people think they are greedy, polluting and aggressive. They do have a habit of eating garbage, and trying to grab any food you bring to the beach. In this 2017 photo, a gull pulls a bag from a garbage bin on Congress Street in Portland. Buy this Photo

Photo by Gregory Rec

Photographed with a slow shutter speed, which blurs its wings, a gull flies past rocks at Nubble Light in York. Although they are common, gulls are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making it illegal to hunt, capture or kill them. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture can issue permits for dealing with nuisance gulls. Buy this Photo

Photo by Gregory Rec

A gull flies at Nubble Light in York. The California gull is the state bird of Utah, probably because the gulls ate hordes of crickets that were destroying crops in 1848, and “the people were saved,” according to the Utah State Library. Buy this Photo

Photo by Ben McCanna

A non-breeding adult herring gull makes its distinctive call. Herring gulls are noisy and have a complex repertoire for communication. Buy this Photo

Photo by Ben McCanna

A juvenile herring gull takes flight from the Maine State Pier in this 2016 photo.

Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

A gull on a lamppost in Saco. Unlike most animals, gulls can drink both fresh and salt water. They have glands above their eyes designed to flush the salt from their systems through openings in their bills. Buy this Photo

Photo by Derek Davis

There is no such thing as a seagull. The correct term is gull. There’s even a twitter account @nosuchseagull. This gull is reflected in the water between Custom House Wharf and Portland Pier. Buy this Photo

Photo by Gregory Rec

A gull sits above a breaking wave at Nubble Light in York. In North America there are 23 species of gulls. They belong to the family Laridae, which also includes terns. Buy this Photo

Photo by Michele McDonald

Gulls are attentive parents, and usually mate for life. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs, and feeding and protecting their chicks. This nest was right off the trail on Monhegan Island. Buy this Photo

Photo by Michele McDonald

A gull flies over Ice Pond on Monhegan Island. Herring gulls have a lifespan of 30 or more years. In the late 19th century, sailors on the Brenton Reef Lightship recorded a particular bird they named Gull Dick. It returned every fall for over 20 years, and stayed for the winter. They would feed it a breakfast of boiled pork and fish. Gull Dick preferred the boiled pork. Buy this Photo


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