A Sister Site of Northern Michigan Birding.
Michigan Birds Checklist:

Michigan Checklist Report Board NMB Forum Sightings Database

 Bonaparte's Gull

Status in Michigan
Common Transient

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Bonaparte's Gull.

Use the links below to view the Bonaparte's Gull reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Bonaparte's Gull sightings.
Bonaparte's Gull Archives Reports
Fall 2003 5237
Spring 2003 985
Winter 02-03 27
Fall 2002 2241
Summer 2002 19
Spring 2002 3212
Winter 01-02 43
Fall 2001 457
Summer 2001 2
Spring 2001 85
Winter 00-01 54
Fall 2000 2337
Summer 2000 17
Spring 2000 1588
Winter 00-99 85
Fall 1999 458
Spring/Summer 1999 5

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Bonaparte's Gull

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Bonaparte's Gull
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Bonaparte's Gull
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Larus Philadelphia (Ord)
Bonaparte's Gull

Common transient. Local summer visitant along coasts. First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 417).

SPRING.-Main flight is reported from mid-April to mid-May. Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area the species is common on the average from April 7 to May 11 (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 87, 203) . About Detroit, flocks of 25 to 75 were seen by Swales, chiefly from mid-April to early May; on April 16, 1911, he saw a flock of 500. In the Ann Arbor region an individual was taken on March 23 (1932, by James H. Wood), and some flocks of as many as 25 to 50 have been found from the second week in April to early May; in 1934 at Geddes Pond, Ann Arbor, 50 were seen on April 20, and 40 on April 25 (R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, Van Tyne, T. D. Hinshaw). One bird was noted at Portage Lake, Jackson County, as late as May 28 (1939, by Maurice G. Brooks and R. L. Patter- son ). Some have been reported in the latter part of April and in May in Calhoun County (Walkinshaw) and in Kalamazoo County (U.M.M.Z.; Gibbs, 1885: 190; and 12 birds on April 17, 1938, by R. E. Olsen). Along the coast of Berrien County there were about 300 in flocks on April 15 (1939, at Benton Harbor-Pirnie) and a few birds on May 1 (1920-N. A. Wood, 1922: 7); northward at Saugatuck, Allegan County, an individual was seen on March 28 (1938-Pirnie and H. L. Bradley). At Sand Point, Huron County, where the species has arrived within a few days after the melting of the ice (Manuel, 1930: 236), small numbers have been found somewhat irregularly by D. W. Douglass from April 13 (1932) through May (but as many as 100 on April 21,2023), and occasional birds in summer by Manuel. J. C. Salyer took an individual (U.M.M.Z.) on April 27,1934, at Pine Lake, Charlevoix County, and Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) recorded an- other on May 4, 1937, at Cecil Bay, northern Emmet County.

Upper Peninsula.-A few Bonaparte's Gulls have been reported in Chippewa County: at Munuscong Bay, 4 on May 3, 1933, by Max M. Peet, and 4, May 28 to 29, 1922, by Magee (1922:176); at Sault Ste Marie, several groups of 2 to 6 in May, 1924 and 1925, by Christofferson; and at White- fish Point on May 22, by N. A. Wood (1914: 59). Christofferson saw 1, June 3, 1936, at Gould City, western Mackinac County.

SUMMER.-Uncertainty still exists regarding the nesting of Bonaparte's Gull in Michigan (Barrows, 1912: 56) ; no unquestionable record has yet been found. Nonbreeding birds have been noted in summer in the Erie marsh, Monroe County (June 6, 1934, U.M.M.Z.) ; at the St. Clair Flats, St. Clair County (200 to 250, nearly all immature, on June 18, 1899, by J. Claire Wood and Swales; 50 on June 27, 1913, by Jefferson Butler; see also Barrows, 1912: 56) ; at Sand Point, Huron County (several collected by C. G. Manuel, fide D. W. Douglass) ; on the shore of Bay County (June 5 to 28, U.M.M.Z.) ; in the Douglas Lake (Cheboygan County) vicinity (in late July and August-Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937) ; and at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County (June 10, 1934, U.M.M.Z.). Some of these records may refer to late spring or early fall transients.

FALL.-Records indicate a movement that extends mainly from September to late November.

Upper Peninsula.-An individual was noted on Isle Royale on August 12, 1929, by Walter E. Hastings, and at Phoenix, Keweenaw County, on September 2, 2023 (U.M.M.Z.). Christofferson and Magee reported some almost every fall in Chippewa County, in the 1920's; at Sault Ste Marie in 1926, they saw 14 on August 18, and 30 on August 23 ; at Munuscong Bay in 1929, 23 in September, and 2 as late as October 23 (Christofferson).

Lower Peninsula.-Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) recorded occasional individuals and small groups along the north coast of Emmet and Cheboygan counties not only in late July but also in mid-August (1910 to 1937) , and Max M. Peet collected 2 birds at Burt Lake, Cheboygan County, on August 18, 1941. In several seasons at Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, Trautman saw the species frequently in October (100 on October 9 and 10, 1937), only a few after October 25, and none after November 12 (1938) ; he collected 1 (Max M. Peet collection) on November 7, 1937. Pirnie saw 300 near Tawas City, Iosco County, on November 18, 1937. On Saginaw Bay, where the species has been very numerous in fall (Eddy, 1884o; 5), and where a few were noted in late August and 200 on October 12, 2023 (U.M.M.Z.; N. A. Wood, 1911: 86), large flocks appeared (Sand Point, Huron County) from November 12 (900 birds in 1929) to November 16 (1930). Along the Lake Michigan coast line this gull was reported very common at Hamlin Lake, Mason County, in early September (Chaney, 1910:272) , at Douglas, Allegan County, on October 17, 2023 (E. R. Ford), and south of South Haven, Van Buren County, on September 17, 2023 (Leonard Wing). At the W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, Wintergreen Lake, Kalama- zoo County, -where the species has been seen frequently in October, Pirnie saw a flock of 30 on November 2, 1932, a flock of 80 on November 12, 1932, and a flock of 20 on November 28, 1941. In the Ann Arbor region only very small groups have usually been noted, from August 20 (4 birds in 1909) to mid-November, but a sizable flock of about 60 was seen October 19, 1930, on Barton Pond, Ann Arbor, by R. E. Olsen. "Large numbers were migrating down the St. Clair River," St. Clair County, in mid-October (Swales, 1904&; 84) ; about Detroit some were observed by Swales (1912:126; and notes) from mid-August (1896) to mid-December, but the larger numbers from late September to late November (50 to 200 seen in a day). Trautman discovered a flock of about 80 at Gibraltar Bay, Wayne County, on August 29,1935.

WINTER.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 87) has found Bonaparte's Gulls not uncommon in the Toledo-Erie marsh area in December. Generally the birds depart when the bays freeze over about the end of the month, but about 300 Bonaparte's Gulls were seen there throughout the winter of 1931-32.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

| Checklist Home | View | List All | Log Off |

Be sure to visit these websites for more sighting and banding counts.

Michigan Bird Records Committee Website.
MI HummerNet - WPBO - RRBO - SMRR - Saginaw Bay
Copyright 1998 Gossamer Threads Inc. Database Powered by Gossamer Threads Inc.