Franklin's Gull: Medium gull, gray back, white underparts. Head is black, white eye-ring; bill is orange, black spot near tip. Wings are short with white-bordered or spotted black tips. The legs are red-orange. Strong direct flight with deep wing beats. Soars on thermals and updrafts.
Range and Habitat
Franklin's Gull: Breeds on marshes, sloughs, and wetlands around lakes from southern Canada to South Dakota and Iowa; also in scattered marshes in the west. Migrates to southeast and winters mainly along west coast of South America.
The Franklin's Gull is unique among gulls in having two complete molts each year rather than one. The gulls need new, strong feathers in order to meet the demands of their 5000 mile migrations.
This bird was named after the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and was originally named Franklin’s Rosy Gull for its rosy-colored breast and belly. Early settlers named it the Prairie Dove.
Their floating nest gradually sinks as the material below the water surface decays, and it requires continual maintenance. Both parents add new nest material daily until one or two weeks before departing the colony. Older chicks also add nest material from the immediate vicinity of the nest.
A group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls.