Black-headed Gull at Moraine State Park, Butler County, PA
Nearly 10 years to the day after the appearance of its first Black-headed Gull in 1998, Butler County's second Black-headed
Gull was discovered on Thanksgiving 2008 (27 November), also, coincidentally, in the exact location as the first. This
portrait was made in the afternoon of 29 November as the bird rested amongst a crowd of Ring-billed Gulls on the lawn at Moraine
State Park's South Shore day use area. Unfortunately just as the bird woke up and started to become more active, a gunshot
from a hunter's rifle echoed over the lake and spooked all of the birds into the sky. Though most of them returned to the
lawn in short order, the Black-headed was not among them.
However, if this individual follows the pattern of the 1998 bird, there will still be plenty of chances to view it. Click
to access the online archive of Volume 12, No. 4 of Pennsylvania Birds
, and scroll to page 187 to read the Butler
County quarterly summary for Oct-Dec 1998, which indicates that the 1998 Black-headed Gull was present from December
5 to December 28! (Note: Adobe PDF viewer is required to use this link.) Of course there is no guarantee about this year's
bird, but one can always hope.