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Migratory Behavior of Franklin’s Gulls (Larus pipixcan) in Peru

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DOI: 10.4236/epe.2010.23021    4,436 Downloads   7,563 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Information on the migratory pathways for birds is essential to the future citing of wind power facilities, particularly in off-shore waters. Yet, relatively little is known about the coastal or offshore migratory behavior of most birds, including Franklin’s gulls (Larus pipixcan), a long-distant migrant. We report observations along the coast of Peru made in November 2008 to determine where birds concentrated. Wind facilities can not avoid regions of high avian activity without knowing where that activity occurs. Migrant flocks of 250 to 50,000 were observed on coastal farmfields, dumps and estuaries, on beaches and mudflats, and up to 45 km offshore. Bathing and foraging flocks ranged in size from 20 to 500 birds, and most flocks were monospecific, with occasional grey-headed (Larus cirrocephalus) and band-tailed (L. belcheri) on the periphery. While previous notes report Franklin’s gulls foraging coastally, we found flocks feeding up to 45 km offshore by diving for prey or feeding on the water. The relative percentage of birds of the year varied in migrant flocks from zero to 14%, with lower numbers of young foraging aerially on insects (only 1%). The percentage of young feeding over the ocean decreased with increasing distance from shore; no young of the year were recorded at 36-44 km offshore. While there were large flocks of Franklin’s gulls resting on the water inshore, the number of gulls foraging offshore did not decline up to 45 km offshore. The presence of foraging flocks of Franklin’s gulls out to 45 km offshore, and occupying space from 0 to 20 m above the water, suggests that they would be vulnerable to offshore anthropogenic activities, such as offshore drilling and wind facilities.

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J. Burger, M. Gochfeld and R. Ridgely, "Migratory Behavior of Franklin’s Gulls (Larus pipixcan) in Peru," Energy and Power Engineering, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2010, pp. 143-147. doi: 10.4236/epe.2010.23021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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