Photo of M99 and Z09 sharing food by Kiah Walker at Plum Island, MA on April 17, 2018
Kiah comments: “I’d be very surprised if M99 and Z09 weren’t a mated pair. Why else would they bring each other food like that (especially in consecutive years)? Very interesting!”
Both M99 and Z09 are ‘known age’ gulls. Both Herring Gulls were banded on Appledore Island in Maine. M99 was banded as a chick July 16, 2012. DNA indicates M99 is female. Z09 was banded as a chick July 14, 2013, the DNA sample for Z09 has not been run..
Last year, 2017, Dave Adrien also observed M99 and Z09 on April 20 in very close association at Salisbury Beach. Dave’s comment was: “So tell me, is there any history between M99 and Z09? They sure were acting chummy.” Z09 was on Appledore in May 2017 but no nest was recorded and M99 was not reported on Appledore Island in summer 2017 but that does not mean that they did not nest as a pair on Appledore Island or elsewhere. They will be worth watching for this summer on Appledore.
We have several reports now of gulls pairing up, “chummy” as Dave says, during March and April. Some bonding appears to be exhibited ‘off-island’. The well-known 2E2 and 5T9 have repeatedly shown very close association in late winter at Sandy Point more than 20 miles from their nesting area on Appledore Island .
Thanks to the many individuals who take the time to report banded gulls and behavior. Kiah’s behavioral report and photo are appreciated as were Dave Adrien’s last year and the many, many, others.