Seagull Monument, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

The Seagull Monument Photo courtesy Derek J. Tangren

The Seagull Monument
Photo courtesy Derek J. Tangren

The Seagull Monument located on Temple Square, is a tribute to the history behind the state bird of Utah. After the pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847, the next winter was a mild one. The early settlers planted crops early and were looking forward to the harvest. However, after planting approximately 900 acres of wheat, a “great numbers of large, black crickets…came swarming from the foothills literally by millions.”1

Attempts to drown, burn, bury and club the infestation were unsuccessful. The Saints pled to the Lord to deliver them from the plague of crickets, which some likened unto Egypt’s curse of locusts. On June 9th, great flocks of seagulls from the Great Salt Lake descended upon the crickets and fed upon them for over three weeks, saving the crops. George W. Bean wrote: “They would come by thousands and gobble up those great fat crickets that were as large as man’s thumb, until they would get about a pint, seemingly, then they would adjourn to the water ditch, take a drink and throw up all their crickets – rest themselves a little, then back to slaying the black ‘monsters’ again.”2 To those observing the experience, it appeared that the seagulls were throwing back up the entire crickets. In actuality, they would regurgitate only the crickets’ exo-skeleton which they could not digest.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commissioned Mahonri M. Young, a well-known LDS sculptor, to create a monument depicting the miracle of the seagulls. The monument contains four relief panels depicting the miracle as well as two bronze seagulls atop a granite column. It was completed, placed on Temple Square and dedicated on September 13, 1913 by Joseph F. Smith, then President of the Church. Seagulls remain protected in Utah to this day.


SOURCES

 

1 B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 331.

2 “The Miracle of the Gulls,” http://www.lds.org/newsroom/showpackage/0,15367,3899-1–34-2-185,00.html.

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Articles & Resources

B. H. Roberts' Account of the Seagull Miracle

Author(s): B. H. Roberts
Type: Third-person account
Source(s): B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 331-33.

The pioneers when entering the valley, it will be remembered, noted that in the foothills there were great numbers of large, black crickets, which then excited but a passing remark. Now, however, in this month of May, [1848], they came swarming from the foothills literally by millions, and descended upon the new-made fields of grain. They devoured all before them as they came to it. Their appetite…

Orson Pratt's Account of the Seagull Miracle

Author(s): Orson Pratt
Type: First-person account
Source(s): Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886), 21: 277 – 278.

We planted our crops in the spring and they came up, and were looking nicely, and we were cheered with the hopes of having a very abundant harvest. But alas! it very soon appeared as if our crops were going to be swallowed up by a…

Seagull Monument PDF