Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

October 2016

Vol. 44, No. 5

A Close Look at Banded Gulls

Dave Adrien


Figure 1. Leg bands on Herring Gull 148. All photographs by the author.

Reset the calendar to July 2014, which coincidentally aligned with gull post-nesting dispersal for the year. The seasonal lull had set in. Spring warbler migration had ended and shorebirds had yet to head south. I asked a simple question of Sue McGrath of Newburyport Birders: “I’m accumulating some pictures and sightings of gulls on Plum Island. Where, or to whom, do I report these sightings?” The response was prompt. Sue told me to contact Julie Ellis, the director of the Gulls of Appledore program. As it turned out, Professor Ellis was on maternity leave so I struck it up with longtime volunteer Bill Clark.

A birder in New Hampshire questioned me one day about what I was doing as I was taking pictures of gulls on Hampton Beach. When I explained, his comment was: “We don’t pay attention to banded gulls. They are all from Appledore.” Well, not exactly.

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