Mew Gull (Larus canus brachyrhynchus) photo by Heydi Lopes
Periodically, a single Mew Gull will make its way to coastal Brooklyn. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website there are "three distinct forms that are sometimes considered different species." They breed in northern Asia, northern Europe and northwestern North America. Individuals that have been seen in NYC in the past have all been of the European race, or Common Gull. What makes this year's sighting so unusual is that it was the first northwestern North American species to be observed in New York. The name "Common Gull" doesn't refer to their prevalence, but rather their use of short pastures for foraging in the winter. That habitat is also known as "common land".