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Publication - Dr Shane Windsor

    Habitat use of urban-nesting lesser black-backed gulls during the breeding season

    Citation

    Spelt, A, Williamson, C, Shamoun-Baranes, J, Shepard, ELC, Rock, P & Windsor, S, 2019, ‘Habitat use of urban-nesting lesser black-backed gulls during the breeding season’. Scientific Reports, vol 9.

    Abstract

    Increasing urbanisation is detrimental for some animal species and potentially advantageous for others. Urban-nesting populations of gulls have undergone rapid population increases worldwide, which has resulted in an increase in human-gull conflicts. In order to inform management and conservation decisions in relation to these populations, more information is needed about the behaviour of these birds in urban settings and how they utilise their environment. This study combined Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking data of 12 urban-nesting lesser black-backed gulls, Larus fuscus, with habitat and behaviour data over three breeding seasons (2016–2018). Despite the proximity of marine areas (~10 km), the birds only made significant use of terrestrial environments, spending two-thirds of their time away from the nest in suburban and urban areas, and one-third in rural green areas. The gulls utilised suburban and urban areas more as their chicks grew and appeared to use diverse foraging strategies to suit different habitats. These results indicate that the range of potential foraging areas available needs to be considered in management decisions and that urban bird populations may not use the resources they are expected to.

    Full details in the University publications repository