Why Do Seagulls Come Inland?

All 40 species of gulls come inland to nest. Some seagulls travel inland just to nest and return to the coast during the winter, but some gulls never visit the sea at all. Birds from the family of gulls are commonly called seagulls but don't necessarily live near the sea.

The most commonly seen inland gull is the ring billed gull, which nests near freshwater lakes in the interior of the North American continent and can often be seen by the hundreds scavenging in parking lots, plowed fields and garbage dumps. Gulls are opportunistic omnivores that consume worms, insects, grains and even small rodents. Many types of gulls travel inland to exploit these food sources, which can be found in areas of human development. The high tops of buildings and parking lot lighting can also provide a safe place for birds to rest away from most predators when they are not actively seeking food.

Herring gulls are the most familiar gulls along the Atlantic and are also found along the Great Lakes, where they feed on mud flats, open water, plowed fields and garbage dumps. The California gull breeds inland and winters on the Pacific Coast. Franklin's gull breeds along inland marshes. The great black-backed gull lives on the coasts of the North Atlantic.