Sighting Guide

How to Report Banded Gulls

Thank you for participating in our long-term study of gulls on Appledore Island, Maine!  We started banding in 2004 to learn more about the behavior and ecology of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls in the southern Gulf of Maine. Since 2004, we have banded over 3,000 birds (adults and chicks) and more will be banded in the coming years. Sightings of banded birds contribute important information about survival, longevity, habitat use, movement, and population trends of these two common, but under-appreciated species. If you have any questions about this work, please feel free to contact or (Bill Clark).

We use field readable, plastic bands in addition to metal bands given to us by the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. Our bands are shown below.fig 1The code on the metal band is quite small and very difficult to read in the field without specialized optics.  Therefore, we also use a custom-designed colored band with an alpha-numeric code that is relatively easy to read in the field for anyone with binoculars. These bands are called “field readable.” We use black bands with white characters for Great Black-backed Gulls and green bands with white characters for Herring Gulls (see photos below).

Phil Brown photo of 4K9

Great Black-backed Gull with black band. Photo by Phil Brown.

Photo by Jon Woolf.

Herring Gull with green band. Photo by Jon Woolf.

When you see a marked gull, please take a digital photo of it and record the following information:

  • The date (exact)
  • Band color and alpha-numeric code (e.g., “green,” “X23”)
  • Location: Name of city, state, and brief description and name of specific location where gull was observed (e.g. rock jetty, on deck of boat, Daytona Shores Beach, etc)
  • Latitude and Longitude*
  • Notes – interesting behaviors of gull, any injuries, other observations

*When reporting a location, the more information the better. If possible, please include GPS coordinates; coordinates can be obtained from a GPS unit (like a smartphone) or by clicking a location on the interactive map at the “Report a Gull” tab. A written description of the location is also helpful.

Where to Report

You can email us with sighting information, or you can report it via our Report a Sighting Form.

Thank-you for your help!!

2 thoughts on “Sighting Guide

  1. Diane Pajak

    I reported an immature herring gull on Ft. Myers Beach in Dec of 2012. Banded X25. Was he ever spotted again?

    1. jellis04 Post author

      X25 11/30/12 Little Estero Lagoon, Fort Myers Beach, FL Melissa B, Al M
      X25 12/16/12 Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, FL Diane P
      X25 12/22/12 Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area, Coconut, FL Hemant K
      X25 01/17/13 Bunche Beach, Cape Coral, FL Stuart M
      X25 01/24/13 Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, FL Pat G
      X25 04/12/13 Sanibel, FL Ferry O
      X25 01/07/15 Keyport, NJ Terry T
      X25 1/24/2016 Keyport waterfront, NJ John O
      X25 04/14/15 Keyport Marina, Keyport, NJ Breyanna H

      X25 is nearing maturity and is heading northward toward the nesting Island.
      As of today we have no record of X25 on Appledore Island since 2012 but this year or next X25 could be seen on Appledore with a nest.
      As always we depend upon reports from the public to track the movements of the ‘Gulls of Appledore’
      Bill Clark


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