Seagull spotters from the public have reported sightings of Appledore gulls as far away as Texas, Indiana and Florida. Most are spotted closer to their home.
The spotters take note of numbers and letters displayed prominently on gull leg bands and record them online — gullsofappledore.wordpress.com/sighting-guide
Through the information gathered, the co-leaders of the Gulls of Appledore (Island) study, Sarah Courchesne and Mary Everett, and fellow volunteers get a history of the gulls — and a thumbnail sketch of the ocean's health.
The project studies two kinds of gulls and bands them by color.
Black bands with white characters are used for great black-backed gulls; green bands with white characters for herring gulls.
Mary Everett provided the following gull histories:
Age at Banding: Adult
Number of Resights: >250
Because he was banded as an adult in 2006 and therefore at least 4 years of age, we know only that he is older than 16.
We genetically sex birds via blood sample, so we have confirmed this bird is a male.
His mate for the past few years has been 9ET, who was banded in 2017. Before that, he had an unbanded mate which could very well be 9ET but we can't say with any certainty.
Of those 250 resights, over 200 of them are off-island resights, and all of them are along Plum Island/Sandy Point. He's a very temporally faithful gull! During the breeding season, he can be seen on and off-island within just a few hours.
He has a rich family history as well.
In 2018, he fledged chick 6HJ with mate 9ET. He provided extended care for 6HJ, feeding him on Plum Island on more than one occasion.
In 2017, he fledged 4FH, who was also seen on Plum Island with 2E2. That same year, 2E2 fledged 2EY, who was seen on Plum Island but not with 2E2.
He has been recorded nesting in 2006 and from 2011 to 2019
This bird shows high nest site fidelity, returning to the same site on the island to breed.
Age at Banding: Chick
Number of Resights: 130
Because we banded this bird as a chick, we know that it is 8 years old.
This bird was banded in the same general area as 2E2 (Sunset Pavillion), but was not attached to a parent bird at the time of banding.
However, it is often seen in the vicinity of 2E2, which naturally leads one to question whether 2E2 is the parent of 5T9. It's certainly possible, although entirely unknown.
Likewise 5T9 is also seen predominantly on Plum Island/Sandy Point, and also Crane Beach.
It was first recorded breeding back on Appledore in 2016, at age 5. It has bred on Appledore each year since. While some of its chicks have been banded, they have not been re-sighted as of yet.