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Word of the Week: Webbed (Ring-Billed Gull)
August 25, 2021 by Haya Aldoori

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each week to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Word of the week is WEBBED [ webd ](adjective): Describing the fingers or toes of a swimming bird or other aquatic animal, which are connected by a web or membrane.

With their white bodies, slender grey wings, and bright yellow webbed feet, Ring-Billed Gulls are not a rare sight in Toronto especially when you are near the water. These interesting birds are so incredibly well-adapted to city life that they feed, breed and live here!

When it comes to food, these birds are major opportunists, and they will rarely turn their beak up at anything. This is why, when they’re not by the water, you are likely to see them hanging around parking lots, fast-food restaurants, or landfills, scavenging for human food scraps. In fact, scavenged human food scraps make up more than a third of their diet!

These birds are probably not everyone’s favourite bird, and they might not have the most beautiful call, however Ring-Billed Gulls have a way of evoking memories. Maybe when you hear their call, it brings you strong images of your childhood summers, spent by the water. Or maybe, when you see this bird, you are reminded of a time when a Ring-Billed Gull swooped down from the blue sky to steal some of the food that you were snacking on. Either way, they’re still memories!

Keep an eye out for these winged opportunists on your next visit to High Park!

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