I photographed this bird at our cottage near Bancroft. Can you help identify it? —Elsa Skuy, Monck Lake, Ont.
Though it’s hard to see the bird in detail because of the angle of the photo, our experts say it looks like a herring gull, based on the wing span, the colouring (white with black wing tips), the head shape, and the large bill. It’s a common bird in most of Ontario’s cottage country—on lakes, farmland, beaches, and in garbage dumps—is a good swimmer, and will eat practically anything. In the 19th century, herring gulls became extinct in some parts of southern Ontario because of excessive feather and egg hunting. Now, they’re one of the most widespread birds in Canada (and considered a nuisance in some areas).