By Joe Sebastiani, Members Program Team Leader
This past Saturday, while birding along Port Mahon Road near Little Creek, DE, I came upon a blinged-out Ring-billed Gull. It stood out among the hundreds of Laughing Gulls, Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, and Horseshoe Crabs because of a large pink tag on either side of its body.
Knowing that I had to read the markings on the wing, I studied the tag and saw that it read “A5”. I also snapped a photo, determined to find out where this bird came from.
A quick internet search showed that a study is taking place in Massachusetts focusing on Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed Gulls. I emailed the project coordinator, and received a quick response. “A5” was banded March 26, 2008 in Worcester, Mass, captured by using a rocket net baited with bread and crackers. (The staple of every gull for generations.)
Since that time, it has been reported a few times. May 4, 2008 in Portland Maine; May 20, 2008 in Lynn, Mass; May 30, 2008, again in Lynn, Mass; and July 15, 2008, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The next report of “A5” was mine, last Saturday, May 9, 2009 near Little Creek, DE.
If you see a wing-tagged gull, you can report your sighting to email@example.com. Keep your eyes out!
Upcoming programs with the Delaware Nature Society include: Evening Walk Series, various dates; Birding Series, various dates; Comparative Wildlife Anatomy, May 15; King Ranch Grassland Birds, May 27; Bird Nest Biology at Bucktoe, May 27; Reptile and Amphibian Foray, May 29; and Shorebird Migration and Horseshoe Crabs on the Delaware Bay, May 30. See www.delawarenaturesociety.org for registration information.