Get Involved

Our research relies heavily on the contributions and volunteerism of the public. There are several ways to participate in the project, each requiring different time and financial commitments.


Volunteers and student interns work on banding a gull.

During the field season on Appledore Island, we need volunteers to join us on island to help with banding the birds, mapping the nests, and searching for previously banded birds to determine which ones have returned to breed. Our limited grant funding pays for college students to come out to the island with us, but for members of the public with the means to pay their own way, we very much welcome the help. For details on the fees charged by Shoals Marine Lab for volunteers, please visit their website. Day trips and overnight stays are available, and we can use the assistance for however long you are able to stay! If you are interested in participating in this aspect of our work, please email Sarah Courchesne for more information.

While the birds breed on Appledore, they forage year-round all over the eastern seaboard, and even a far distance inland. We are completely reliant on the public to spot our banded birds and report them to us. We receive reports from lobstermen, children, beachgoers, and dedicated birders.

8AH by Dave Adrien Sept 30 2015

A subadult GBBG. (photo by dedicated gull spotter Dave Adrian)

Anyone can search for and report bands anytime, and you can devote as much or as little time as you like to looking for them. Many observers just report banded birds they happen to see while walking the beach, or visiting a park. Other volunteers regularly visit known gull hangouts for the express purpose of seeking out banded birds. Whatever your level of enthusiasm for the task, we are delighted to receive your reports. Photos of our banded birds are also extremely valuable to us.

If you see a banded bird, please record the band number, the location where you saw it, and the date. You can report that information to us here.