Los Farallones

Dispatches from Point Blue’s field station on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Eggs, eggs everywhere: The Gulls

The Western Gull (Larus occidentalis):
Everyone who has worked with breeding Western Gulls can say one thing: These birds are loud.
At the beginning of the seabird season (March-April) everything was good. We started sighting banded birds. Each bird has a color band and a metal band with a unique 5-digit number. Many birds have been banded since they were chicks, so we know exactly how old they are.

This Red-Metal bird was born in 2004 in the same plot it now breeds in.

Then mates started “canoodling”…
On May 1st we saw the first eggs in the study plots. As seen in the picture, Western Gulls usually lay 3 eggs. The third egg can usually be recognized by its smaller size and squiggly markings.
However, this simple event changes everything on the island. They become loud (really loud) and active.

We now need to use hard hats for protection.

What will happen when the chicks start hatching?!