Banded Gull at Santa Cruz Municipal Pier

Besides the two lifers, one of the most interesting birds I saw at the Santa Cruz Municipal Pier this past Tuesday (March 20) was a banded Western Gull, #2406.

Silver leg band 2406

What’s especially interesting is that this is a very old style leg band. Four digit bands like this one haven’t been used for over 25 years. That makes this a very old bird. I’ll have to get the original banding data back, but it seems to be at the outer limits of what’s been recorded for this species’ longevity in the wild.

Avise Bird Band Wash DC USA 2406

This bird was extremely unafraid of people. You normally can’t get close enough to a bird to read a metal leg band like this in the field.

The bird may have been missing its left leg. It’s hard to tell though. Many birds can fold up a leg completely into their feathers to the point where it’s invisible. However this is normally done only in cold weather, and Tuesday was well above freezing.


Alvaro Jaramill tells me that contrary to the info on the Patuxent web site these bands are still in use. 2406 is a common prefix in the area. There should be 5 more digits on the other side of the band that I didn’t see. This bird probably isn’t as old as I thought.

One Response to “Banded Gull at Santa Cruz Municipal Pier”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    So let us know when you find out, eh?

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