The bramble scratches are healing, and the bruises from gull bites are faded to yellow, so it’s high time to offer you all a wrap up of our May banding week this year.
The overall numbers may not look impressive versus previous years (25 new bands placed, 29 birds sampled for testosterone and cortisol, and 5 GPS loggers deployed), but given the range of the projects, and their newness to us, we are very pleased with the outcome.
More than anything else, I want to offer my thanks to everyone who makes this work possible. It has occurred to me that no one currently working on the Gulls of Appledore project draws any salary. This is entirely a volunteer based endeavor, and we could not do this work without the donations, in both time and money, of many generous individuals. For this week in May alone, we have to thank:
The Northern Essex Community College student team (Molly, Jessie, William, and Kiara), who have jobs, and needed to take time off work to come do a week’s unpaid labor on the island with us.
Sharon McDermot (NECC), Brad Natti (lobsterman and frequent offshore gull sighter) and Megan Natti (NOAA), who not only came out to assist us in our work, but paid their own way to do so. This frees up our funds to allow more students to join us in the field, so it’s a double benefit. Sharon even donated extra funds to help with the expenses of the students’ stays on island.
Kate Shlepr, who gave her own time to fly up from Florida and spend two days with us teaching me to place GPS loggers on the birds.
Dr. Kristen Covino, who donated her research days to us to partially offset our costs to stay on the island.
Tracy Holmes and Bill Clark, whose incredible generosity has made this work financially possible, and have made it an opportunity for students who could never travel to the island on their own dime. Their funds have also enabled us to offer a paid internship to one or two students each summer for the past three years. This year’s beneficiary, Brett Davekos, has fully immersed himself in the Shoals Marine Lab life, in ways both literal and figurative. Thanks go to him too, for spending 10 weeks away from family, friends, and real life to work on our project.
Bill Clark also gives enormous amounts of time to the project, responding to each and every member of the public who writes in with a report of a banded gull. Bill sends back a full life history on each bird. It’s only because of this kind of public engagement and education that we sustain this army of larophiles on the lookout for our birds.
Mary Everett co-leads this project with me for no pay, and spends more time in the field mentoring our interns than I am able to. She brings a suite of skills to the project that I can’t match, and without her, none of this would run.
Finally, thanks to Dr. Julie Ellis, who started the project almost 15 years ago, and who entrusted it to us. The honor is all mine.