[Tweeters] Swallow-tailed Gull breeding behavior

John Puschock g_g_allin at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 1 23:36:21 PDT 2017

This is a bit of a follow-up to my post about squid...

On Thursday night, I noticed the Swallow-tailed Gull spent quite a bit of time looking at its feet. I thought it was an odd behavior. I then read a webpage that Don Roberson created showing what he wrote for his votes for accepting the 1985 California Swallow-tailed Gull while on the California Bird Records Committee: http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/stgu_votes.html

On that page, he writes, "Further, it seems quite unusual that an escaped captive would come ashore and engage in prolonged bouts of breeding-associated behavior, such as "foot-staring" (similar to noddy terns; Cullen & Ashmole 1963)." [Reference information available on that webpage.] I haven't found a reference that states that Swallow-tailed Gulls definitely foot-stare as part of breeding behavior, but assuming that is correct, it seems that the urge to breed, along with food availability, is what brought the Puget Sound gull to land. As I said in the last email, that doesn't explain what got the bird to 47-48 degrees North latitude to begin with, but it seems a good explanation on why it came into Puget Sound once it got into the North Pacific.

John Puschock

Matthews Beach, Seattle

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