University of North Carolina Wilmington spokeswoman Dana Fischetti said the person who banded the birds may be Dr. Steven Emslie, professor of marine ornithology in the UNCW Department of Biology. Emslie was involved in a project to band laughing gull chicks on the Cape Fear River from 1999 through about 2003.
Emslie was attaching standard U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bands on the right leg, and some of the gulls also had a colored band placed above the metal one, Fischetti says.
“From the reader’s description, it sounds like the gulls he has seen ay be part of the group Dr. Emslie banded, which would mean it was a locally hatched gull from the colony on the Cape Fear,” she says.
Emslie intended to begin a long-term study on the gulls and their breeding biology, but the study was halted when he could no longer gain access to the breeding colony because the area was closed off by the Audubon Society to breed oystercatchers, Fischetti says.
Date posted: April 8, 2010
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