Larus occidentalis • Birds
Western gulls are large with white heads and bodies, and dark gray upper wings. They are the only common large gull along the Pacific coast year round. They have a yellow bill with a red sub terminal spot, which chicks peck in order to stimulate feeding. They are often confused with seagulls, but are much smaller in population size than most other North American gulls and only live along a thin line of coast between Washington and Baja, California.
Western gulls are opportunistic feeders; capturing food by pecking and grabbing, they often enjoy shallow diving. They will forage at sea, inter-tidal areas, along beaches, at dumps, on marine life, fish, eggs or chicks of seabirds.
They enjoy following seals to locate food and may scavenge the carcasses of large mammals, squid, clams, mussels, sea urchins, eggs, adult birds, zooplankton, small fish, and even garbage in large cities.
On rare occasions, they have been observed taking milk from lactating female seals while they lie sleeping on the beach!