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Report colour-banded gulls in White Rock, researcher urges beach-goers

Study of the health, habitat of Salish Sea marine ecosystem underway
Researchers are hoping locals and visitors in White Rock will report any colour-banded seagulls they see this month online, to help them study the Salish Sea. (Unsplash photo)

Seagulls are a common sight in White Rock, especially near the city’s popular pier, beach and waterfront promenade.

This month, researchers with Environment and Climate Change Canada are hoping those who visit the beach will take note of seagulls bearing colour bands, to help them study the health and habitat of the Salish Sea.

“The Salish Sea is a major major wintering area for gulls from all over the continent,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada research scientist Mark Hipfner, in a video tweeted by the city.

He noted that gulls seen in White Rock could come from Oregon, Alaska, Washington State as well as other parts of B.C.

Gulls are indicators of the health of the Salish Sea, he explained.

“Around the world, gulls are used as indicators of the health of marine ecosystems, so the project we do here in the Salish Sea sort of ties into a global collection of studies, so we can draw inference from our gulls and similar activities going on elsewhere that really provide some big-picture context,” Hipfner said.

Researchers will trap the gulls, take small blood samples and feather samples and use the data collected to measure the birds’ health, and putting bands on the birds as well.

“What we’re really hoping for is the people in White Rock… when they’re down just walking on the beaches, to look for the gulls with the bands – and if you can get a photo of it, then report it back to us online,” he said.

The video features a QR code that people can scan, or they can report the colour-banded gulls online as well.

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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