Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea)

Ivory Gull
(Artwork - 134)
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea)

This medium-sized gull has a circumpolar range across the northernmost latitudes of North America and Eurasia. There may be some southward movement in the winter, rarely south of where ice forms on seawater or fresh water (we get the odd one here in the lower Great Lakes, where they are considered a great rarity the sighting of which is prized by birders). In northern Newfoundland people have a lot of colourful colloquial names for birds, and this species is often known as the "ice partridge" and can indeed, from a distance, have a vague resemblance in flight to a ptarmigan or white pigeon. It is the only member of its genus, Pagophila, which appropriately roughly translates into "love of sea-ice" although some scientists include it with many other gulls in the genus "Larus". The species name, euburnea, translates to "ivory-coloured".

I have shown and adult, above and behind, and immature, the latter distinctively and uniquely marked with a sooty smudge to the face and sooty-grey spots on the otherwise white plumage.

They will eat any small animals, both marine and terrestrial species, it can acquire, plus carrion. There is some dependence on polar bears, which produce left-overs from their kills, and can even provide nourishment via excrement. Nesting above the treeline on the ground or on cliffs and crags the Ivory Gull lays one to three olive coloured eggs.

Sadly, for reasons not fully understood but presumably linked to climate change and the dramatic reduction in sea ice this species is in serious decline, with Canada's population roughly 80% lower in the early 21st century than in the 1980s, and is now classified as "near threatened".

I did this painting showing a bleakly cold environment in the height of last summer. It is approximately life size and in acrylics on compressed hardboard, 24 X 20 inches, and is intended for the cover of Ontario Birds, the journal of the Ontario Field Ornithologists. (orig: $600).

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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