GullWatch

About

Glaucous-winged gull (a.k.a. G-wing)

Glaucous-winged gull (a.k.a. G-wing)

About the gulls…The glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) is a familiar sight and sound around Cordova in the summer. The salmon run starts and like clockwork the gulls appear in their thousands perched along rooftops. Glaucous-winged gulls (or G-wings, as they are called by some locals) are long-distance migrants that breed on island colonies in the Gulf of Alaska, moving as far south as Mexico during the winter.

About the study…It’s a mutual love of salmon that brings the gulls and humans into close contact during the summer in Cordova. So does salmon fishing mean more gulls in town? And if so, how does this impact the population biology, distribution and disease ecology of the g-wings? Biologists from Tufts University and the Prince William Sound Science Centre are addressing this in a North Pacific Research Board-funded study by tracking gulls from nest to rooftop, allowing us to identify whether their movements are food-driven, identify other wildlife they associate with and risks of pathogen transmission.

How you can help…The public will play a key role in the study. If you spot a gull tagged with a colored leg band, please click on the ‘Report A Gull’ link or email Nichola Hill (nichola.hill@tufts.edu) with the tag digits, date and location. We welcome participation from people of all ages, skill levels and bird nerdy abilities.

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