This ring-billed gull was seen floating placidly in the Trent canal above locks 11-12 at Campbellford, foraging for tidbits in the water, on 12 July 2014.
View the complete 15-year (1999-2013) monthly data summary (477-kb pdf file).
At Presqu'ile provincial park, roughly 40 km to the south, this gull is an abundant migrant and summer resident, and the most common bird species at the park, spring to fall (LaForest, 1993, pp.172-176). The birds nest in the tens of thousands, after returning from late January onwards, generally departing for the southern Atlantic coast of the southeast USA by early October. A few birds may overwinter, given that there is always open water, an essential which is largely absent from our area for several months.
In Peterborough county, to the northwest, the situation is markedly different from coastal Presqu'ile, in that the ring-billed gull appears in early March, is largely absent in early summer (i.e., it does not breed in large numbers), and then returns midsummer and departs again by early December (Sadler, 1983, p.86).
The ring-billed gull increased its numbers in the latter half of the 20th century, particularly at favoured sites along the shores of the lower Great Lakes (Cadman et al., 1987, pp.180-181). In the revised Bird Breeding Atlas this gregarious bird had increased to an estimated Lake Ontario population of 155,000 pairs (Cadman et al., 2007, pp.260-261), with an estimated 59,000 pairs at the Leslie Street Spit and 58,000 pairs at Presqu'ile.
Cadman,MD, Eagles,PFJ and Helleiner,FM (1987) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory, published by University of Waterloo Press, 617pp.
Cadman,MD, Sutherland,DA, Beck,GG, Lepage,D and Couturier,AR (editors) (2007) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, 706pp.
LaForest,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.
Sadler,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.