Gull Nest Update

Western Gull parents and chicks (Larus occidentalis)

The bigger gull chick in the faraway nest looks to be doing well. Its mom’s disability — she is missing her right foot — doesn’t seem to hamper the chick’s development.

In the near nest, however, there has been a loss. The smallest chick has disappeared. Now there are only two, and one of them is clearly less developed than the other. The almost constant westerly wind meanwhile has much reduced the nest. The chicks huddle there sometimes for what little shelter it offers. The parents haven’t made any effort to repair or rebuild it. At other times, the chicks huddle outside the nest, resting against the electrical conduit.

The chick in the faraway nest has the pole and an electrical junction box for wind shelter. Whatever scraps of dry vegetation served as nest there have all blown away.

My best estimate is that the chicks in the near nest hatched around June 16. In the far nest, three or four days earlier. It’ll be six to seven weeks, so near the end of July, before they’re capable of flying. But they’ll typically hang around the nest until they’re three to four months old, begging food from their parents. In the fall they’ll scatter.

The breakwater off the west side of the park where you can see these Western Gull nests. In the foreground you can usually see Double-crested Cormorants.

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