11 January - First sighting in 2014. Alex Tongas has reported the first sighting for 2014. He observed BJMX at Mathis Park, Toms River, NJ on January 4.
4 April - Faithful to Fort Chambly ! The gull with band JAFK was seen again along the Chambly Basin near the lock and the Fort by Raymond Belhumeur. Marked on 30 April 2009 at the Île Deslauriers colony, it was seen on 31 March 2010, 9 April 2011, 3 April 2012, 30 March 2013, and 7 April 2014.
16 July - New publication. A paper written by Martin Patenaude-Monette has been published today in PLoS ONE::
27 July - A gull marked in Massachusetts reported in St-Pierre-et-Miquelon. The gull B70T was observed and photographed on July 26 by Laurent Jackman on the beach along Étang Savoyard in St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, FRANCE. The bird had been banded in Tewksbury, Massachusetts on January 31st 2014 by M.I.T. and MA DCR biologists.
2 August - A bird tracked since its birth. This 2-year old gull was photographed by Marie-Lise Beaudin at Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka on July 31st. The web tag was put on the chick just after hatching on May 12 2012 on Île Deslauriers. It was recaptured on June 13 (32-day old) and fit with a blue (B) plastic band and a US Fish & Wildlife Service steel band (0954-20346). We can compare the condition of the chicks at the time of banding by weighing them and measuring their head, bill, and tarsus length while controlling for their age. This is the first sighting of B6KF. We marked approximately 900 juveniles with web tags but over 9,000 gulls have received a colored leg band since 2009. So far, we have cumulated 8,500 observations of 3,500 individuals as part of our study on the population dynamics of Ring-billed Gulls in southern Quebec.
13 October - The role of gulls in transmitting pathogens. Video (in French) produced by Annick Antaya, Amélie Ladouceur and Sarah Talarico assisted by Claude R. Paquette (film editor) as part of their course entitled Intégration during their B.Sc. in biology at UQAM.
January 13 - First sighting in Quebec. Raymond Belhumeur reported the first marked bird in Quebec for this year. He spotted B3LC at Recre-O-Parc Ste-Catherine along with five other Ring-billed gulls. This bird was web tagged in a nest on Deslauriers Island on 11 May 2012 and banded on 15 June. We can see the web tag that has a unique code allowing us to identify chicks at banding.
February 7 - Martin Patenaude-Monette on GaiaiPresse. A former member of our research group, Martin Patenaude-Monette has published a paper entitled Une cohabitation possible entre les citadins et le goéland urbain on the GaïaPresse website [in French].
March 14 - The gulls are back! Ring-billed gulls arrived in the Montreal area earlier this week. Few thousands were observed this morning in the main colony on Île Deslauriers, near Varennes.
July 22 - A gull problem in Quebec city. A small colony of Ring-billed gulls established near the Quebec incinerator at Limoilou has gone unnoticed until the young fledged few days ago. Complaints by citizens leaving nearby has brought the city to start a scaring program. J-F. Giroux has commented on the limited efficiency of the methods taken. See the text (in French) on the Radio-Canada web site.
October 14 - Three thousandth individual observed. During this last week-end, Raymond Belhumeur observed the 3000th marked individual at the Recre-O-Parc at Ste-Catherine. It was BA46 captured and marked last June on the Deslauriers colony. Since 2009, 8000 gulls have been color-banded and 6900 observations have been submitted.
November 17 - 250th observation by Raymond Belhumeur in 2012! Raymond Belhumeur of Longueuil has just submitted his 250th observation since the beginning of the year. He spotted gull BCZ4 on the Chambly canal nearby Île Ste-Thérèse. Raymond had seen this bird at the same site on 31 October 2010 and 14 December 2011, which shows that ring-billed gulls are very faithful to their post-breeding resting site. The bird had been banded in 2010 in the Deslauriers Island colony and observed on a nest in 2011. MERCI RAYMOND!
October 27 - Northeast Gull Working Group. Cécile Girault, Martin Patenaude-Monette and Jean-François Giroux participated to the first meeting of the Northeast Gull Working Group in Bar Harbor, Maine. The researchers presented their results and exchanged information with other Canadian and American colleagues.
October 15 - Faithful to McDo! Mike O'Leary has spotted the gull with band JKCF for the fourth consecutive fall at the same McDonald's in Ellington, Connecticut. This birds was banded as a juvenile in the Deslauriers colony in 2009.
August 16 - North American Ornithological Conference. Cécile Girault presented some of her Ph.D. results at the Fifth North American Ornithological Conference in Vancouver, BC. Her poster entitled Post-breeeding movements and habitat use by ring-billed gulls: a diversity of strategies was co-authored by Gilles Gauthier and Jean-François Giroux.
May 22 - Triennal survey. Our group has joined Canadian Wildlife Service biologists to suvey gull colonies in southern Quebec. A total of 77,000 nests were recorded, which is 9,000 more than in 2009 but 7,500 and 19,500 less than in 2006 and 1994, respectively. Stabilisation of the population is therefore confirmed and the population might even be declining. For the first time, nearly 2,100 pairs were found nesting on flat roofs of buildings in the western part of the island of Montreal.
April 6 - The breeding season is started. The first three nests with one egg each were located by our crew this morning on Île Deslauriers. This is earlier than in 2010 and 2011 when the first nests were found on April 10 and 14, respectively. This confirms the early Spring.
March 11 - The first sighting of the season in Quebec. Raymond Belhumeur, our most productive volunteer, has reported his first sighting (BA8L) of the season at Parc de la Cité in St-Hubert. This is four days earlier than last year when Raymond saw his first marked gull on March 15 2011 at the Récré-O-Parc, Ste-Catherine.
March 5 - The gulls are back. The first gulls were seen today in downtown Montreal, 6 days earlier than in 2011. Maybe a sign of an early Spring?
January 10 - A gull tracked with an ARGOS-GPS to Cuba! The gull marked with the band BFT7 on Deslauriers Island in June 2011 has crossed the ocean from North Carolina to Miami just before Christmas. It had previously spent the fall in the Quebec City region and flew along the Atlantic coast to NC. After few days in FL, it left for Cuba for the New Year and is now just south of Cayo Coco... Another gull tracked with and ARGOS-GPS and with band BULM has flown from NC to the Bahamas before moving to Miami. After few days, it went to the Gulf Coast near Sanibel Island. The tracking devices record two locations per day (noon and midnight) and send these locations via satellite once a week. Although conventional banding had already revealed that some Ring-billed gulls do winter in FL and Cuba, our detailed tracking is the first to describe the precise route taken by the gulls.
December 13 - The last gull tracked with a Argos-GPS device has left Quebec during the weekend after spending the fall on the Laurentides lakes. The birds are currently dispersed in several states including New York (4), Vermont (1), Pennsylvania (3), Maryland (1) Virginia (3), North Carolina (2) and Georgia (1). Two other birds that had initiated their migration were unfortunately hit by cars in Connecticut and on Long Island, NY on November 25th.
December 5 - 200 sightings by Raymond Belhumeur. One of our regular observer, Raymond Belhumeur from Longueuil, QC, has just submitted his 123rd and 124th sighting of marked gulls for this year, which gives him a total of 201 since the beginning of the project. Raymond regularly patrols the south shore of the St. Lawrence River stopping at Bassin de Chambly, St-Basile and Chambly sewage lagoons, Ste-Catherine Récréo-Parc and Parc de la Cité at St-Hubert. Sightings reported by volunteers like Raymond Belhumeur help us to establish the dispersal patterns of Ring-billed Gulls. THANKS RAYMOND!
November 4-5-6 - Tree students presented their project at the 36th annual meeting of la Société québécoise pour l’étude biologique du comportement (SQEBC) at Université de Sherbooke.
October 25 - A workshop was held with several partners to discuss the problem associated with Ring-billed Gulls nesting of roofs and on islands located near human dwellings. A summary of the discussion will be available shortly.
October 7 - Longevity record: On May 20th, our field crew live caught a Ring-billed Gull on the Deslauriers colony near Varennes that was 27-year old! The bird had been initially banded as juvenile (25-35 days) in a colony on the Four Brothers Islands located in Lake Champlain, NY on June 9, 1984. This overrides the previous record of 25 years and 5 months reported by the Bird Banding Laboratory.
September 6 - A member of our lab, Ericka Thieriot, has presented her results on gull scaring at landfills at the 2011 Bird Strike North America Confertence in Niagara Falls, ON. Her Power Point presentation is avalaibale on line.
July 10 – Our group has joined the staff and volunteers of Le Nichoir to band and release 210 juvenile gulls that had been taken to the rehabilitation center few weeks ago when chicks were found in a parking lot in the industrial zone of Ville St-Laurent. The chicks had fallen from a roof where few hundred Ring-billed gulls have nested earlier this spring. The birds were reared at Le Nichoir and released this morning near the colony located at the Beauharnois hydro-electric dam where they joined several thousand gulls.
July 4 - A bird fitted with an Argos-GPS has arrived at the Cayuga Correctional Facility near Moravia, NY where it spent the entire fall last year, probably hand-fed by the inmates. The Facility officers asked us whether the inmates could use this device to communicate with the outside, which is not possible.
June 27 - One member of our group has spotted the bird with a blue band XPK that is also fitted with an Argos-GPS at the mouth of the Rivière du Loup; the bird has since moved to Temiscouata Lake. This is the same dispersion route used last year.
June 23 - The first juveniles have left the Deslauriers colony; they feed by themselves or with their parents along the shores of The St-Lawrence River near the colony or even in dowtown Montreal.
May 9 – The first eggs hatched today on Deslauriers island.
April 22 – We located 2 birds in the Deslauriers colony that had been fitted with ARGOS-GPS last summer. These PTT collect 2 GPS locations (± 10 m) per day and transmit the data once a week via the Argos satellites. Last summer, the bird with blue band XPK flew to Rivière-du-Loup before moving to Edmundston, New Brunswick where it spent the entire fall. He went to Jacksonville, Florida for the winter before returning last week to Varennes. We spotted it today on its nest where a first egg had been laid. Another individual (Blue CJ6) marked last June was observed with its partner (Blue CJ4) near it former nesting site. It spent the winter south of Richmond in Virginia after spending the fall near Trois-Rivières, QC.
April 14 – The first nests were observed today on Deslauriers: 4 days later than last year.
November 21st – The CBC french program DÉCOUVERTE featured our project. Click here.
November 5-6 – Four students presented their project at the 35th annual meeting of la Société québécoise pour l’étude biologique du comportement (SQEBC) at McGill University.
13-15 November – Two students presented their project at the 34th annual meeting of la Société québécoise pour l’étude biologique du comportement (SQEBC) at UQTR.
15 October – Press conference in Terrebonne to announce the research grant.
15 April – NSERC announces that the Research and Collaborative Research grant was awarded.