Red-billed gulls – trouble or treasure?
Dunedin is a hot spot for seabirds, and home to a rapid increase in red-billed gulls. This trend reflects an increase throughout Otago but is in marked contrast to a national decline. The pattern of urban nesting is unique in NZ but common overseas. In Otago, the close proximity of gulls and people has led to conflicts of interest.
Dr Chris Lalas, has been monitoring red-billed gulls in Otago for over 20 years and will discuss changes over time and predictions for the future.
Sally Carson, with a background in citizen science, is keen to get schools and other interest groups involved in collecting data to further our understanding about the interaction between gulls and people. Observations are important to increase our understanding.
The Red-billed gull colony at Pukekura / Taiaroa Head has been doing extremely well. The 2021/22 season saw a growth of over 20% increase with the amount of breeding pairs nesting in the area, with an estimated over 3300 pairs recorded.
Last year, St Joseph’s School put its hand up to be involved in a Royal Albatross Centre citizen science project to get a better understanding of where different species of gulls were spending time, and why, with the aim of reducing negative interactions between humans and gulls. Read more – Otago Daily Times
If you want to be part of this project, share your observations – where are they nesting?