ARTISTS AND BIRDS

"A Leftover Memory"

California Gull

        Rain finally arrived in Southern Utah, and as my honey and I stood in the drizzle, enjoying the moisture, the smell, and the gray skies, a single California Gull appeared overhead. This was a pleasant sighting, as it brought back memories of living in Salt Lake. One memory was my honey telling our children that when he went to gullJr. High and High School, and the kids took their lunches outdoors to eat, the Seagulls would fly overhead, hover in mid air, and then land and pick up leftover lunch scraps. When our children went to school, and ate their lunches on the same lawns outdoors, the Seagulls were still flying overhead.

        California Gulls are extremely common in northern Utah; here in southern Utah we only see them as they migrate through our desert setting. To see Seagulls, visit our large bodies of water like Quail Lake, Sand Hollow, or Gunlock Reservoir and watch for patches of white. This intelligent survivor has learned to follow people for its food supply anywhere from school lawns to the vast garbage dumps of the cities. Farmers plowing their fields in the valleys of northern Utah are followed by hundreds of gulls, looking for choice morsels in the freshly turned earth. But as tame as a Seagull seems, it is always a wily and wild bird.

        This California Seagull is the State Bird of Utah, remembered for saving the crops of the Mormon settlers from a plague of Mormon Crickets. A monument in Salt Lake City commemorates this event known as the "Miracle of the Gulls." While driving through the west desert a few years ago I saw thousands of large crickets. Oh, oh I thought, as I heard the tires crunch over the crickets! Then in the distance, I saw patches of white, which turned out to be Seagulls, and I knew that help was close by. Cricket hoards still lurk in the vast stretches of the Great Basin desert and Seagulls will be there to help rid the West of this pest.

        Mary K. Feezer is the artist of this pastel painting of the California Seagull. Thank you Mary for sharing this beautiful painting with us.

        If you would like to know more about the birds migrating through our area, come hear Rick Fridel, photographer, and bird specialist, Wednesday, December 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Tonaquint Nature Center. Get prepared to participate in the Christmas Bird Counts and enjoy the upcoming Winter Bird Festival. For more information call me, Marilyn Davis, at 435 673-0996.


~~~

Home - Red Cliffs Audubon