Between the mid-1980s and late-1990s, the number of breeding pairs of Black-headed Gulls in Northern Ireland declined rapidly. Down from 38,000 pairs to 10,000 pairs, the species is red listed in Ireland and is a priority species in Northern Ireland.
The main objective of this project is to hopefully learn more about the species in Northern Ireland, though:
- determining dispersal / natal fidelity of juveniles from a colony
- movements of adults from breeding and wintering grounds and
- migration movements from GB and/or continental Europe
As well as the conservation issues above, I chose to study Black-headed Gulls because of their association with human activities. Their tendency to hang around train stations, car parks, playing fields, etc. (I'm making them sound a bit shifty, aren't I?!), should increase the chances of colour-ringed birds being re-sighted.