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Black-headed Gulls

Monday, June 21st 2021

Some of the Swaledale bird ringers returned to a large Black-headed Gull colony on the moors in the Yorkshire Dales.  These birds are not a 'seagull' and are found commonly almost anywhere inland. The birds in this particular location have had a successful breeding season so far and had chicks of various different ages.

The nests themselves are made from dry grasses and other vegetation, the amount of material used ranging from very little on dry sites to a substantial pile on wet sites, it is thought that the higher pile is to protect the nest contents from changing water levels. As you can see, the young chicks blend in well with their surroundings.

The eggs vary in colour from brown to green.

Some of the young chicks were too small to be ringed and were left sitting on their nests.

The ringers work quickly to minimise the disturbance and ensure that the chicks do not stray too far from their territories.

It is a mucky job and waders are always recommended!

So far this year the team have ringed 471 chicks on two separate visits.

Ringing this species is important as it can help us to understand their migration.  The Black-headed Gull has been widely ringed in Europe and large numbers of recoveries are available from several countries, among them Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium. Many of the Black-headed Gulls ringed by the Foxglove team have been recovered in both Ireland and Cumbria over the years.


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