Sarah here again, with a few resights for you, one of them made by yours truly. While I was out on my survey for the SEANET project, looking for dead seabirds, I chanced upon a very much alive Y30, loitering near some likely looking beach goers. As I tried to get a good view of the band, a man in a beach chair called out, “C’mon! I bet you could catch him!” I laughed and said, “I think I already did, actually–he’s got a band on and I may well have been the one who placed it!” The man and his wife looked closely at the bird as if for the first time. “Wow!” the woman yelled, “Look at that! He is wearing a band!” It occurred to me that even when operating right under the noses of most humans, these birds are not ever really seen. A shame, since maybe if people understood them a little better, they would be less reviled. Sigh.
Anyway, here’s my poor cell phone photo of the bird on Salisbury Beach Riverside Reservation in Massachusetts on June 30.
It turns out that this bird was indeed banded last year in July, and since then has been seen again trailing behind a cod fishing boat off Rhode Island in October 2013. A resourceful little youngster, this.
The second sighting I have for you comes from New Jersey, where Renee Franklin spotted this amputee gull on June 30. The right foot is missing, though the leg appears healed from what I can see in this photo. It’s a bit hard to read the band, but we think it says R37. If that is correct, the bird was banded in 2012 as a chick, with both feet intact, and this is its first sighting since then. How it came to lose the foot is not clear, though it’s not the first time we’ve seen that. Whether banded or not, gulls have a remarkable capacity for getting themselves into trouble. I’ve seen fishing line entanglements, burns, gunshot wounds and a host of other unexplained wounds and injuries result in the loss of a foot in gulls. They seem to adapt to the loss very well, as R37 seems to have done. Perhaps we will see it back on Appledore to breed when the time comes. After all, there was, for a long time, a one footed gull nesting successfully outside one of the dorms. Hopefully this is not the last we’ll see or hear from R37, and thank you to Renee for the sighting!