All Birds are Beautiful (Ring-billed Gull)

A ring-billed gull plucks a gizzard shad from Creve Coeur Lake at sunrise.

It was still dark this morning as I hiked to my favorite hide at Creve Coeur Lake. I was wearing my neoprene chest waders to navigate through the swampy areas and across the waterways, and I was toting a pop-up blind so I could hide in plain sight. I was hoping for ducks, deer, beavers, eagles, and other interesting critters. Ring-billed gulls weren’t really on my list.

As I completed my set up in the mud, the morning glow revealed that most of the lake was covered with ice. I scanned the lake but only saw a few mallards, three herons, and a ton of ring-billed gulls. About 30 minutes later the situation hadn’t changed much. Not to be discouraged, I decided to focus on the gulls, which had approached my location to fish for shad in a patch of open water right in front of my blind. I had been to the spot many times before so I knew it would be glowing with golden light as the sun crested the trees behind me. As is often the case, my goal for the morning would be to capture compelling images of common critters, in this case ring-billed gulls.

The featured image was captured right at the peak of the golden hour as the gull crashed into the water and scooped up a gizzard shad. If you look closely you can see the eye of the doomed fish. Speaking of eyes, I’ve always loved the intense eyes of ring-billed gulls. Their eyes make them special!


The reflection during the golden hour was so nice, I couldn’t resist obtaining this symmetric action scene, featuring all kinds of cool splashes of water as the gull secured its prey.

A gizzard shad is briefly suspended in space before disappearing down the gull’s gullet.

I was happy to see the interesting position of the ringbill’s prey in this image. Of course it was a complete accident but I’ll take it!

The understated beauty and ardent eyes of a ring-billed gull. Notice that the eyes match the bill.

This plain profile image shows a ringbill up close and personal. They really are beautiful, as are all birds, in my opinion.

A turn of the head.

A turn of the head made the previous image more personal as I watched the ringbill watching me.

When the golden light finally dissipated, I scanned the lake one last time for the more charismatic creatures I had come looking for. Seeing no promise of other critters, I pulled up stakes and began the muddy slog back to the 4Runner. The morning hadn’t gone as expected but I was as content as ever. Sharing the awakening of a new day with a bunch of shrieking ringbills was the perfect start to a new week. I’m weird that way.

Happy Naturing,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery and Print Information:  Danny’s Website/Gallery

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.

2 comments on “All Birds are Beautiful (Ring-billed Gull)”

  1. Thanks for those great images!Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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