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Movements, Site Fidelity, Foraging Ecology, and Roosting Behavior of Ring-billed Gulls in Relation to a Water Supply Reservoir in Central Massachusetts.

Jillian Peirera and Dan Clark (PhD candidate) attach patagial tag to gull.


September 2011 - December 2013


Concern over potential impacts on water quality by large numbers of roosting gulls using large reservoirs in central Massachusetts prompted this study by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. We are investigating the movement patterns, foraging strategies, and site fidelity of gulls (primarily ring-billed but also herring and great black-backed) in relation to these large and important reservoirs during the non-breeding season. Over 2,000 gulls have been marked with colored, numbered patagial tags, and hundreds of observations have been recorded by project staff and the public throughout much of Massachusetts and all along the east coast. In addition, several birds have been fitted with GPS radios to record their movements. We are also experimenting with ways of influencing and reducing the availability of anthropogenic food resources, such as feeding in parking lots, sewage treatment plants, and landfills.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



Funding Agencies

  • Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey