IAB Research Project Description

Diet of Glaucous Gulls on Alaska's North Slope

Glaucous Gull. Credit: Photo by Emily Weiser/M.S. student/IAB/UAF

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Little is known about the diets of gulls in northern Alaska. Diets of glaucous gulls from the eastern Beaufort Sea, near Tuktoyuktuk, Canada, included a wide variety of food including small rodents, fish, eggs and young birds (young birds were more common than eggs; Barry and Barry 1990). Additionally, diets of glaucous gulls in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area of southwestern Alaska were also comprised of wide variety of items including marine invertebrates, fish, birds and their eggs, and some small terrestrial mammals; goose goslings were particularly important (Schmutz and Hobson 1998). It is likely that gulls on the North Slope also consume a wide variety of prey items, including items from landfills (Robert Suydam, NSB, unpublished data).

This study will also help provide insights into impacts to threatened waterfowl and other species at risk, such as eiders and brant, and possible mitigation measures. If gulls are foraging on threatened or sensitive species, a further increase in gull numbers because of oil and gas activity could lead to even greater population declines in threatened species and species at risk. The results will provide guidance in the development and implementation of recovery tasks and mitigation measures for all tundra-nesting birds.

The primary objective is to document food habits of gulls by analyzing boluses regurgitation, examining stomach contents, and observing gull behaviors.

Project Funding

Angus Gavin Migratory Bird Grant
IAB Project #106

Bureau of Land Management
1 Jul 2008 – 30 Sep 2011
IAB Proposal #08-019
UAF Grant #G5094
IAB Project #106

North Slope Borough;Department of Wildlife Management
31 Aug 2007 – 30 Nov 2009
IAB Proposal #08-019
UAF Grant #G4344
IAB Project #106

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412