California Gull californicus

(last update: 22-12-2016 )

Coordinators:
Alvaro Jaramillo
John Cant
Mars Muusse

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Canadian Atlas of Bird Banding

Volume 2: Seabirds, 1921–1995. (Gaston et al., 2008)

California Gull (Larus californicus) 53.0

Encounters: California Gull (block size = 11.1°) View data table

California Gulls are birds of inland plains while breeding and are found on sea coasts in winter. In Canada, they breed from southern Mackenzie District south through eastern Alberta and Saskatchewan to southwestern Manitoba and in interior southern British Columbia. The winter distribution extends along the Pacific coast of North America from southern British Columbia south to Mexico (Winkler 1996). Small numbers winter inland in the lower Colorado River area, in Texas, and in the Salton Sea of southern California. This gull is common in southern British Columbia coastal waters in fall and spring, occurring as far north as the Queen Charlotte Islands (Campbell et al. 1990b).

Encounters (including sight records) of chicks banded in Saskatchewan were analyzed by Houston (1977), and encounters of birds banded in Alberta were analyzed by Vermeer (1970a); their results are treated here as representative of the Canadian population. Both studies found a striking pattern of westward movement to the Pacific coast in the fall; in some cases, birds reached the coast within 6 weeks of banding (record 1). In September and October, birds from the Canadian Prairies share the refuse dumps and shores of southern British Columbia with others that have moved north and west from breeding grounds in the United States; most birds then move south for the winter. Virtually all Canadian-banded first-year birds, and about half the second-year birds, remain on the coast for the following summer, when older birds return to their prairie breeding grounds.

Canadian-banded birds have been encountered in Mexico (19: Baja California, 12 [record 2]; Sonora, 5 [record 3]; Sinaloa, 2 [record 4]), California (51 [record 5]), North Dakota (2), Texas (2), Kansas (1), Oregon (8), and Washington (13). The farthest movement was from Alberta to the Gulf coast of Louisiana (record 11). One bird banded in Alberta was encountered as an adult 8 years later, in Minnesota in June (record 6), demonstrating that not all young birds return close to their natal area.

Large-scale banding at colonies in the northwestern United States has resulted in numerous encounters in British Columbia, mostly in the Vancouver area. These birds originated from California, Oregon, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and Idaho. The great majority of these encounters involved birds whose band numbers had been read by telescope. This technique, while very welcome, introduces a further bias into the recovery pattern; the chance of encounters is influenced, as always, not only by the density of human population, but also by the presence of people willing to sit down with a telescope observing gulls' legs. There are, for example, no fewer than 56 encounters in Burrard Inlet and adjacent Beach Grove, British Columbia, of birds banded as locals at Freezeout Lake, Montana (record 7). A substantial number of encounters are multiple — i.e., several observations of the same bird, frequently in subsequent years (record 8).

Origins of birds banded as locals and encountered (excluding multiple encounters) in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia were as follows: Colorado, 1; Nevada, 1; North Dakota, 9 (record 9); Montana, 169; Utah, 15 (record 10); Idaho, 46; Wyoming, 93; California, 18; Oregon, 11; Washington, 55. Banding locations in the last three states were inland. In agreement with the Canadian experience, the great majority of encounters were in the first and second years of the birds' lives. Inland encounters were as follows: Montana to Saskatchewan, 4; Montana to Alberta, 2; and Wyoming to Saskatchewan, 4. As with Canadian records, several of these encounters involved birds of breeding age.

Two encounters in Louisiana (record 11) occurred before the species had been recorded in that state; their occurrence was not confirmed until fall of 1985 (J.V. Remsen, pers. commun.). Unfortunately, these band recoveries, and perhaps the one in Minnesota, must be treated with the greatest reservation because California Gulls are very similar to Ring-billed Gulls (which are abundant in Louisiana in winter) and breed in mixed colonies on the prairies; their chicks are virtually indistinguishable in the field (Salt and Salt 1976). Ring-billed Gulls had been banded at the same locality as these "California" Gulls, although not in the same year. There must, therefore, always be some doubt that birds banded as chicks were identified correctly.

The oldest encounter of a bird banded in Canada was of a nestling banded at Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, and encountered in the same area nearly 13 years later (record 12). The oldest bird banded in the United States and encountered in Canada was 11 years old when reported (record 13). Only one other encounter exceeded 10 years — a remarkably low apparent survival for a gull (cf. Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull).

Summary of banding statistics: California Gull

Category

Age at banding

Hatch Year

After Hatch Year

Any Age

No. of Canadian bandings (1955-1995)
0
0
12390
No. encountered per 1000 banded (1955-1995)
0
0
24
Total no. encountered (1921-1995)
731
17
770
No. encountered from foreign bandings
421
6
435
Maximum period from banding to encounter (mo.)
155
51
155
No. of Canadian-banded birds moving > 0 km
284
11
304
Mean movement > 0 km of Canadian-banded birds
1038
532
1019
Maximum movement from all encounters (km)
3217
1877
3217
% recovered (encountered dead)
36
58
37
% direct recoveries
32
47
32
% encountered during banding operations
0
0
0

 

Banding effort: California Gull

Encounter records: California Gull

Band Number

Sex

Distance

Duration

Banding

Encounter

Who Banded

Age

Location

Location

Condition

How Obtained

0416-50437 U 1432 km N53°W 4 yr. 2 mo. AMW L near Ogden Bay Refuge, UT near Stuart Island, BC 0 0
0695-53725 U 1183 km S76°W 1 mo. CSH L near Saskatoon, SK near Vancouver, BC 7 52
0545-93522 U 3136 km 1 yr. 6 mo. CSH L east of Hafford, SK Sinaloa State, Mexico 0 47
0585-88958 U 1604 km S21°W 4 yr. 10 mo. CSH L near Medicine Hat, AB near Big Pine, CA 3 1
0007-00216 U 2784 km S2°W 1 yr. 10 mo. FLF U Bittern Lake, AB Baja California, Mexico 0 0
005-44378 U 2677 km S4°E 7 yr. 1 mo. FLF L Bittern Lake, AB Sonora State, Mexico 0 1
006-99889 U 1708 km S67°E 8 yr. FLF L Bittern Lake, AB Como Lake, MN 0 0
0007-00399 U 3217 km S45°E 3 yr. 7 mo. FLF U Bittern Lake, AB Delacroix Island, LA 0 4
0555-43529 U 1603 km N65°W 1 yr. 1 mo. KLD L Bamforth Lakes, WY Burrard Inlet, BC 0 87
0555-43529 U 1603 km N65°W 2 yr. 4 mo. KLD L Bamforth Lakes, WY Burrard Inlet, BC 0 87
0555-43529 U 1603 km N65°W 3 yr. 2 mo. KLD L Bamforth Lakes, WY Burrard Inlet, BC 0 87
0555-43529 U 1603 km N65°W 4 yr. 2 mo. KLD L Bamforth Lakes, WY Burrard Inlet, BC 0 87
0615-95967 U 1608 km N51°W 11 yr. 1 mo. KLD L near Laramie, WY near Vancouver, BC 0 0
0725-99617 U 824 km N83°W 1 yr. 2 mo. LMM L Freezeout Lake, MT Beach Grove, BC 7 52
0685-01582 U 20 km N25°W 12 yr. 11 mo. NPWRC L Mackenzie, NT Mackenzie, NT 5 45
0545-64859 U 1763 km N84°W 2 mo. RTG L Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge, ND Burrard Inlet, BC 0 87

 

California Gull californicus 0945-575xx 2nd cycle (2CY), September 08 2009, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Jim Tietz.
HY2008.
California Gull californicus 1055-08887 2nd cycle (2CY), August 12 2010, MacKerricher State Park, CA. Picture: Brad Carlson.
HY2009.
Black band white coded: breeding adults from South Bay
California Gull californicus 243 adult, August 22 2010, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Oscar Johnson.
California Gull californicus 497 adult, Half Moon Bay, CA. Picture: Lana Ellis.
California Gull californicus 552 adult (8CY), August 07 2017, Half Moon Bay, CA. Picture: Alvaro Jaramillo.
Yellow band black coded: chicks from South Bay
California Gull californicus 309 adult (7CY), January 12 2016, Half Moon Bay, CA. Picture: Alvaro Jaramillo.
Red band white coded: from Mono Lake
California Gull californicus 005 1st cycle (1CY), August 24 2010, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Matt Brady.
HY2010.
California Gull californicus 075 1st cycle (1CY), August 22 2010, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Oscar Johnson.
HY2010.
California Gull californicus 223 4th cycle (4CY), September 30 2017, off Dana Point, Orange Co., CA. Picture: Jeff Bray.
HY2014.
California Gull californicus 267 2nd cycle (2CY), August 18 2013, Yolo Co., CA. Picture: Steve Hampton.
HY2012.
California Gull californicus 323 adult, September 04 2016, Half Moon Bay, CA. Picture: Alvaro Jaramillo.
California Gull californicus 712 1st cycle (1CY), August 19 2013, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Jim Tietz.
HY2013.
California Gull californicus 780 1st cycle (1CY), August 19 2013, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Jim Tietz.
HY2013.
California Gull californicus 902 3rd cycle (4CY), April 06 2017, Half Moon Bay, CA. Picture: Alvaro Jaramillo.
HY2014.
California Gull californicus 977 1st cycle (1CY), August 22 2014, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Jim Tietz.
HY2014.
California Gull californicus 982 2nd cycle (2CY), August 21 2015, Alameda, CA. Picture: Mark Rauzon.
HY2014.
California Gull californicus -- 1st cycle (1CY), August 29 2012, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Jim Tietz.
HY2012.
California Gull californicus -- 1st cycle (1CY), September 12 2014, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo Co., CA. Picture: Amar Ayyash.
HY2014.
California Gull californicus -- 1st cycle (1CY), September 05 2014, South Jetty, Eureka, CA. Picture: Brad Elvert.
HY2014 .
California Gull californicus -- 1st cycle (1CY), August 2014, Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA. Picture: Jim Tietz.
HY2014.
California Gull californicus -- 1st cycle (1CY), August 28 2015, Silver Lake Reservoir, Los Angeles Co., CA. Picture: Ryan Winkleman.
HY2015 .