This week we received one of our western-most sightings ever! On February 2, 2013, Martin Reid spotted V57, a young Herring Gull, at Brownsville Municipal Landfill in Cameron County, Texas. He wrote: “It was incredibly lucky for me to get these data, as at the time I took the pics, I was trying to photograph a presumed Nelson’s Gull (Herring x Glaucous hybrid) among a large group of gulls that took-off suddenly. When I looked at my photos later, I realized that I had gotten the ‘wrong’ (maybe not!) bird and noticed the bands on its legs.”
V57 was banded as a chick on July 19, 2012 on Appledore, Maine. He or she was the “A” chick, meaning it was the first of its nest-mates to hatch. V57 traveled quite a distance after fledging! Interestingly, both V57 and V66 hatched in 2012 and dispersed to Texas for the winter. These two birds came from nests located on the main campus of the Shoals Marine Laboratory (see Map tab). V57’s nest was near Laighton and V66’s was on the road from Bartels to Kiggins Commons. We’ve often wondered if birds that nest near one another learn various behaviors from one another. For example, do neighbors use the same foraging or dispersal sites? It’s also possible that neighbors are related to one another and, as a consequence, have inherited or learned similar behaviors. With enough data on dispersal and genetics, we may be able to investigate these questions.