Friday 10th March comments: I think it’s fair to say that Great Black-backed Gulls do not get much good press. This power-house is the largest in the Gull family and with a six feet wing-span can be as intimidating beast. It has the reputation as a formidable predator as it’s known to take out birds up to the size of adult Shags and Puffins are just a light snack (so don’t mess with one).
The Isle of May boasts over seventy pairs of these monsters although we know very little about them…until now. Over the last two summers we’ve been fitting yellow colour rings to the chicks which allow observers to read the ring details without the need for recapture. The results have been fascinating as this winter we’ve had sightings from various locations as the youngsters discover the world.
Reports have come in from as far away as Grampian, Northumberland, North Yorkshire and even northern France. This shows the value of this kind of marking but our learning does not stop there. This year, in partnership with CEH and the Isle of May Bird Observatory we’ll be tracking birds more closely during the breeding season to help us learn even more and find out what birds actually eat, where they forage and hopefully much more.