Glaucous Gull Movements and Feeding
Prior to this study, there was relatively little information about diets of Glaucous Gulls on the North Slope. Many have suggested that with increasing human activities on the North Slope, especially with regards to oil and gas exploration and development, gull populations have expanded. This expansion could be due to the increased availability of food for gulls from landfills and dumpsters to supplement natural diets. If gull populations increase, there could be increased predation on shorebirds, waterfowl or other tundra nesting birds. This study was designed to provide more information about gull diet and movements for assessing and mitigating potential impacts from oil and gas activities.
This project has two main components, (1) to document the diet of Glaucous Gulls and (2) to document the movements of gulls to help interpret results of the diet section. Below is an abstract summarizing the preliminary results of the diet work. The approach was to collect pellets (regurgitated undigested food items) and prey remains from near nests and loafing areas of gulls. Gulls eat a wide variety of items, including things from dumpsters and landfills. Understanding movements of birds will aid in evaluating diet. Movements of gulls were documented through the use of satellite telemetry. Satellite transmitters were attached to gulls in 2009. Many of those birds are still providing locations and movement data. Data show that some nesting birds may travel 30 or more miles to forage at a landfill. Other birds may remain closer to colonies and forage on rodents and birds. Gulls will continue to be tracked in the coming year.
Data and Resources
Website :: NSB Project Website
Website :: Draft Poster