Our own Julie Ellis has been working since pre-history on a gull banding project out on Appledore Island in southern Maine. Her study, involving both Herring Gulls and Great Black-Backed Gulls, requires a couple rounds of bird capture and banding each breeding season. Adults are banded in May when they are incubating eggs, and fledglings are caught and banded in July before they are particularly adept at flying escapes.
This year, Julie has invited yours truly (SEANET blogger, Sarah Courchesne) to assist her in directing these efforts. In addition to the two of us, we will be capably assisted by a team of experienced gull wranglers who come back every year for more abuse. But even given that crack team, we are looking for more recruits. The Shoals Marine Laboratory, a joint venture of Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire) administers courses and programs on the island for children through college undergrads through retirees. The gull banding study is being offered this year as an Adult Education opportunity, so anyone over the age of 18 is invited to join us! There is a fee to cover your room and board and to support the “course faculty”, and life on the island is not glamorous, but the rewards are great and the company is passable.
You can get more information on the adult banding session in May, and the fledgling banding session in July at the Shoals Marine Lab website. No prior experience handling birds is required; we can teach you everything you need to know. Hope to see some Seanetters (and anyone else who might be interested) out there this season!