Every Memorial Day weekend, PRBO Conservation Science and Mono Lake Committee volunteers count California Gull nests on Mono Lake’s islets as part of a study that has taken place annually since 1983. This year, PRBO’s Kristie Nelson reported that over three days, the group counted 20,056 nests, which was much better than last year’s tally of only 16,700 nests. However, it is still below the long-term average of 23,000.
A number of factors affect the gulls’ success each spring; this year the early warm temperatures and high numbers of shrimp in Mono Lake offered good conditions for nesting. In a few weeks Kristie and her crew will return to the islets to count and band chicks in order to estimate nesting success.
Top photo courtesy of Point Blue Conservation Science.