by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Is The Festival Over?"

California Gull

        The Winter Bird Festival really is over, but some birds must not think so. We were looking into Quail Creek Reservoir this morning and the southwest shoreline was covered with white things. Way out into the water there were tiny white dots everywhere. They were all Seagulls. Then . . . we went to Telegraph Street in Washington. There were low-flying Seagulls going from pole to pole, gullcrowding each other off, trying to get a foothold. Seagulls were flying with traffic, over people, and making their presence known to one and all. I thought . . . are the crickets coming? Will there be another Seagull miracle in Utah’s Washington County?

        If you haven’t read the history . . . "When the Mormon Pioneers first came into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, they faithfully planted their crops for food the next season, which they desperately needed to survive. Just when the plants were doing well, large hoards of crickets came down from the foothills, eating everything in their way, heading for the newly planted crops. The settlers rushed to the fields and beat and killed thousands of crickets, but there were too many to even make a dent in the attacking crickets. Then, out of the skies came the Seagulls. Were the Seagulls coming to eat what the crickets didn’t? No! The Seagulls were gorging themselves with the pesky crickets, spitting them out in nearby streams and then back to devour more crickets over and over again until they were gone. This was called the Mormon Cricket Miracle."

        Take time to visit the business district in Washington where lies Home Depot, or go to Quail Creek Reservoir with a pair of binoculars, and see if you don’t get a thrill watching the beautiful California Gull, Utah’s State Bird, in flight, on the water, or just doing what Seagulls do. Do it quickly, before they discover the Winter Bird Festival is over.

        The California Gull was painted by Mary Kay Feezer in pastels. If you have questions about birds or the upcoming Red Cliffs Audubon’s General Meeting or Saturday Field Trip call 435 673-0996.
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