Apologies for the delayed update on the LBBG. After the last post, another attempt was made to capture and band the LBBG’s new mate. Unfortunately, she was not particularly motivated to sit on the nest would not go into the nest trap. We’ve found that gulls are far more likely to enter a trap after they’ve laid a full clutch (typically, 3 eggs); if they only have one egg, they are unlikely to take the risk. This appears to have been the case with LBBG’s mate.
We waited for the lone egg to hatch so that we could band the chick, but it never did. The dead egg was collected so we can run genetic tests and determine the parentage of the embryo. In recent weeks, the LBBG has not been observed at his nest site at Appledore and may be headed south, so keep your eyes peeled.
This summer, I worked with some great folks on the gull project. I co-advised three undergraduate students with Dr. David Bonter (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/Bonter/), Assistant Director of Citizen Science at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology. David leads Project FeederWatch, a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. Although Dr. Bonter’s background is in migratory songbirds, I’m proud to say that he’s becoming a certified (or, maybe it’s certifiable…..) larophile!
David and I worked with an undergrad from University of New Hampshire (Justin) and two from Cornell (Christine and Alexis) to study various aspects of gull ecology this summer. These students, along with a few others, also helped band gull chicks in July. The students, and long-time gull wrangler, Bill Clark, were a super banding team!