Alternative Nesting Materials for the Discerning Gull

This week, the task of GPS-ing each nest on the island has continued. During this task, field ornithology intern Liam Berigan and I have discovered some interesting alternative nesting materials out in the colonies.

First up, seaweed nest:


We have been monitoring in this area since May, and never noticed a gull on the nest. It is most definitely abandoned at this point, with one dud egg remaining inside it. The nest site is wet and dank; some of the seaweed was clearly grabbed from the intertidal when still wet Рhardly conducive to incubating, but in keeping with the gulls beachy locale.

Next, the green nest:




This is the nest of R69 and mate at Norwegian Cove. R69 is a 4-year-old Herring Gull who was banded as a C chick at Norwegian Cove. Normally, nests are made of dead grass, sticks, dried seaweed, old moss, etc. These gulls decided that a lush, live-plant aesthetic was more their style.




Finally, the dead gull leg nest:


Yes, you read right: this band was found on a desiccated gull leg, being used as part of a nest. 78H was banded as a chick in Herring Gull Canyon, but had not been seen since…because his limb was being used as nesting material. While not for everyone, this dark, blood-of-mine-enemies aesthetic really seemed to work for these gulls, helping to create their ideal Summer home.





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