Rainbow of gulls

2 08 2012

If you’ve been following our blog since we started last year, you’ll notice the gulls are getting more colourful as we go.  In order to help keep species and populations distinct, banding and wing-tagging efforts have adopted unique colour combinations for each species and region so that a gull’s banding location can be known even when the letter codes aren’t discernible.  So far on Sable we’ve put three colours in use including PINK for Herring Gulls TURQUOISE for winter banded Great Black-backed Gulls, and YELLOW/LIMEGREEN for summer banded Great Black-backed Gulls.  Check out some sample pictures below.

A colleague of mine working up in Newfoundland has added one more shade to the gull rainbow.  He’s using a BEIGE wing-tag with black letters  Here’s a little message from Alex who would appreciate your reports if you see any of these gulls too.

As part of a larger study, we put wing tags on 37 adult Herring Gulls on Gull Island in the Witless Bay Seabird Ecological Reserve off Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula.  The tags are beige with black codes like “X07” or “X29”.  The birds were also fitted with the black-on-orange colour bands that have been used in Newfoundland for many years.  We know from other band returns that Newfoundland’s breeding Herring Gulls range from southern Labrador to the Carolinas.  Any resights can be reported to the Bird Banding Office/Bird Banding Lab (www.reportband.gov), or directly to me at alex.bond@usask.ca.  Photos, anecdotes, and stories of the birds are most welcome!   Alex Bond, University of Saskatchewan

Beige wing-tags were deployed o Herring Gulls from Newfoundland in a study this summer.

Beige tags were deployed on gulls from Gull Island, Newfoundland.

Thanks for your help and keep the sighting reports coming.
Rob Ronconi
Halifax, NS

Yellow wing-tags on an immature Great Black-backed Gull from June on Sable Island

Pink tagged herring gull landing on the water

A turquoise tagged Great Black-backed Gull from Sable Island in the winter.

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