HRBT Seabird Conservation: 2003–2005

As the number of laughing gull and herring gull breeding pairs continued to increase on South Island, so did their distribution; by 2003, gulls occupied nearly every nook and cranny on the island. This resulted in the displacement of common terns, gull-billed terns and black skimmers from the protected western half of South Island to unpaved surfaces adjacent to island roads and parking lots and I-64. This led to serious human safety concerns including accidents and numerous near-accidents in the tunnels caused by drivers trying to avoid striking gull and tern chicks that entered the interstate. The aggressive behavior of the seabirds also became a nuisance to VDOT employees, state police, contractors and other workers on the island. There was growing concern that increasing gull populations were reducing the reproductive success of terns and skimmers by way of displacement and depredation.

  • July 12, 2021