Sunday, September 02, 2007

Utah's State Bird: The California Sea Gull?

At my job, I am in contact regularly with a company from Utah. More specifically, I work with a woman, who's name will be "Tara" to protect her identity. Somehow in talking with her the conversation turned to Utah's State bird. And being the curious mind that I am, I inquired with "Tara" as to why Utah's state bird is the California Sea Gull.

She replied: "It has something to do with the Pioneers and their crops."

Fifth graders from Utah probably know the story, but I think the rest of our nation should be enlightened. That was enough for me to do some research to find out how the California Sea Gull played a part in our great American history.

Here are my findings.

The California sea gull has always been considered the state bird of Utah, even before its "official" inauguration.

The Gull gained this reputation in the summer of 1848, when swarms of crickets attacked the pioneer/Mormon food supply. When the crickets swarmed it is reported that flocks of the California Gulls arrived and settled in the area and "gorged themselves" on the attacking crickets. In return for saving the lives of Utah's earliest settlers, the California Sea Gull was rewarded handsomely.

The California Sea Gull officially became Utah's state bird in 1955, when a Bill, introduced in Utah's house of Reps, was approved and signed.

These birds now nest in large colonies in the islands and dikes of the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake. A golden statue in Salt Lake City commemorates the event.