This is the common and familiar “seagull” across much of North America—from coastal beaches to malls in the middle of the continent—yet it is rarely seen offshore.
Midlatitude North America, winters to Middle America. Breeding: common and usually colonial, on low, sparsely vegetated islands in lakes. Arrives late March–May, departs July–August Dispersal: postbreeding dispersal begins by late June, with juveniles recorded by mid-July as far south as Salton Sea, California. Casual north to central Alaska, accidental Arctic coast of Alaska. Migration: nearly throughout North America where common to abundant in many regions. Mainly August–October. and March–mid-May. Oversummering nonbreeders regular along Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, local elsewhere. Winter: Main arrival in most of United States September–October, with most departing February–April. Rarely north to Newfoundland, casually to south-coastal Alaska. Vagrant: casual Europe, West Africa, Hawaii; accidental to Amazonian Brazil.