Roof-nesting gulls in Portland, Maine and a resight in Massachusetts

During the past couple of years, we’ve been collaborating with Drs. Noah Perlut and Peggy Friar, University of New England, who are studying the costs and benefits associated with roof-top nesting by Herring Gulls in Portland, ME.  Adults and chicks are fitted with either an orange or blue plastic leg band engraved with a 3 letter code. Sightings can be reported directly to Noah Perlut (nperlut@une.edu).

Noah and Peggy are comparing timing of nesting and reproductive success of roof-top nesting gulls to gulls nesting in more natural settings like offshore islands. Stay tuned for updates on this collaboration.

Noah and Peggy forwarded an Appledore gull resight from Meagan Sims, a Marine Science graduate student at UNE.  On April 23, 2012, Meagan reported that she’d seen a dead, banded gull on Muskeget Island a few months prior. Muskeget is located off Nantucket Island in Massachusetts and is an interesting place.  It is one of three colonies in the Atlantic U.S. where gray seals pup.  The island has has its own taxon of vole (not clear if it’s a subspecies of the Meadow vole or a separate species): the Muskeget beach vole.  The waters around the island are highly productive and support thousands of sea ducks and scoters in the winter months.  In the 1800s, Roseate and Common Terns nested on Muskeget until they were displaced by Laughing Gulls, which were subsequently displaced by Herring Gulls.  Currently, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls nest on the island.

As part of her master’s thesis, Meagan is studying the habitat use of gray seals on the island.  She was there removing some markers and taking area measurements when she found the banded gull.  The bird was located on the periphery of the island on the north side in the grassy area next to a large open beach.

9T2 was banded as a chick on July 2011 at the North Head  (see Appledore map tab).  This is the first (and, evidently, last) resight of this bird off the island.  This is also the first report of an Appledore gull on Muskeget Island.  We have not received many reports of banded gulls from other islands, so this is a particularly interesting report.  Thanks to the University of New England group for this new data point!

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