First Lesser Black-backed Gull returns to the breeding colony

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Species: Lesser Black-backed Gull

Project: Multi-scale movements of gulls from Texel

In April 2009 the first of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls equipped with a GPS-logger in 2008 returned to the breeding colony on Texel. Its GPS logger contained information about more than 9,000 locations that the bird visited within a period of 300 days (July 2008 – April 2009).  During the breeding season this individual foraged predominantly in the North Sea, SSW of the colony.

Foraging (left) and migration movements (right) of a femaleLesser Black-backed Gull

During the winter the gull used several distant staging areas, which differed on the way south and on the way back to the colony. For several weeks the gull roosted on the rooftop of the Renault factory in Douai, France and foraged in surrounding agricultural fields, a striking change from its marine foraging movements while at the breeding colony. The gull spent the winter in Spain, exploiting rice fields and landfill areas.   The continental shelf edge in the Bay of Biscay was utilised to fish only during the flight back to the colony which included a trip to the UK.

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