Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A little birdie told us to not worry about those tagged gulls.

There is nothing birders like more than knowing where a bird they are looking at came from, and knowing where that bird will go after it leaves their area. That's why birders are so interested in banding, ringing, tagging, etc.

Right now a lot of banded and tagged gulls are turning up in the Chicago area, and of course, local birders are seeing these gulls and wondering who they should report them to.

Well, not everyone working on this anti-gull project is happy about the City's plan to reduce the gull population, and one of these unhappy folks -- we'll call him/her our "little birdie" -- knows the real scoop, and they're singing like a canary.

Let's just say that the City doesn't care who sees tagged gulls, or where those gulls are headed. You see, our little birdie sings, the City is tagging these gulls for two reasons, and neither of them have to do with where these gulls are dispersing to.

First, the City is using the tagged birds to determine the effect of their gull depradation efforts in the city. While they spend our hard-earned taxpayers dollars coating gull eggs with corn oil, they want to know if those gulls are laying a second clutch.

The second reason these gulls are being tagged is a bit more insidious: the tagging of the gulls in and of itself is an effort by the City to reduce the breeding population of gulls. Color-tagged gulls, according to some data, are less likely to breed than untagged gulls. So, in a way, the colored tags are not just being used to track the effects of the City's gull control efforts -- they *are* a part of the City's gull control efforts. Bet they didn't mention that at the fancy "migratory bird" press conference at Montrose on Saturday.

Sing, little birdie, sing, and warble us another song!!!

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