What is the Utah State Bird?
California Gull is the state bird of Utah. Utah titled the California gull as official state birdof Utah in 1955.California gulls are known as the gymnasts of the sky. They execute astounding aeronautic tricks. Sometimes they seem unmoving in midair by putting themselves to catch wind streams with elegant precision.
These calm birds are considered very valuable by agronomists. Vegetated island, lakes and rivers areCalifornia Gull’s natural habibats. Their call consists of scratchy hoarse series of aow and uh-uh-uh notes. California Gulls live upto 20 years.
State Bird of Utah Facts–
- Common name: California Gull
- Scientific name: Laruscalifornicus
- Habitat: Sparsely vegetated island, lakes and rivers.
- Diet: they are omnivores and eat almost anything that fits into their mouths. Diet includes fish, garbage, grasshoppers, mayflies, earthworms, small mammals, cherries, bird eggs, carrion, brine shrimp, grains etc.
- Song and Calls: Call consists of scratchy hoarse series of aow and uh-uh-uh notes.
- Weight: 430-1045 g
- Length: 47-54cm
- Wingspan: 130 cm
- Average lifespan: 20 years
- Incubation period: 23-27 days
In 1848, a plague of katydids (also known as Mormon crickets) started to devour the crops of Mormon settlers in Utah. When California Gulls returned to breed, they started feasting on the katydids and thus saved the crops from complete destruction. A golden statue in Salt Lake City commemorates the event, and the California Gull was made the state bird of Utah after this incident.Utah’s state bird, The California Gull, like most gulls, is an opportunist and eats anything it can catch or scavenge.
It has an unusual foraging strategy for catching alkali flies that congregate on the shores of salty lakes in the Great Basin. It begins at one end of a huge raft of flies and runs through them with its head down and bill open, snapping them up along the way.They often associate with other California Gulls as well as other gull species. Despite their highly social nature, they defend their nest areas in the breeding colony.
They threaten intruders by stretching their necks straight up, by pushing their heads forward and opening their bills, or by throwing their heads up and then down to their chest at the time of calling. Gulls that share territorial boundaries sometimes bite grass or other vegetation, aggressively pulling at it to indicate ownership of the area. Both parents of the California Gull incubate the eggs, taking turns throughout the day at about 3-4 hour intervals.
When it is time to trade incubation duties, an adult gull flies into the nest area while calling. The incubating gull stands up and gives quite a few “long calls” as its mate lands near the nest. The returning mate bonds in the calling and eventually takes over incubation duties. Sometimes the incubating bird isn’t ready to leave the nest, so the returning mate offers encouragement by giving the “choking call,” representing nest material, or physically nudging its mate to get it off the nest.Learning how to fly takes practice and so does learning how to catch something in midair.
Young California Gulls practice this skill by dipping a stick in midair and swooping down to catch it.The oldest recorded California Gull was at least 28 years, 3 months old when it was captured due to an injury in California in 2013. It had been banded in the same state in 1985.
The law designating the California gull as the official Utah state bird is Section 63-13-5.5 (State symbols of the Utah Code) Title 63 (General Government) Chapter 13 (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS). Section 63-13-5.5: All of Utah’s state symbols are listed in section 63-13-5.5. Below, we have only listed the entry regarding the official state bird.