A Reader Asks: Where are the gulls and piping plovers? [Bird Talk]

A reader named Leah Asks:

“Recently moved back to Long Beach after a 30 year absence and noted with much distress the glaring lack of seagulls. Has anything been going on to cause the severe fall in numbers? Walked the entire boardwalk a few times and if I saw a dozen gulls, that was a lot. I’m back in the canals close to the bay and none here as well. Just a bit curious. Also, the little Piping Plovers seem to have disappeared again.”

I asked my resident bird expert (my wife) for some answers and here is what she had to say:

Piping plovers nest in the eastern beaches from Lido Beach Town Park eastward.  They nest from March/April and fledge probably all the way in August, so they’re gone now. Plovers don’t nest in Long Beach – there’s no habitat for them.

There are a lot of gulls, maybe you keep missing them 🙂  The species that are in Long Beach are the followings:

I hope that helps! Maybe somebody else can explain the gulls, but I see them all the time!

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6 thoughts on “A Reader Asks: Where are the gulls and piping plovers? [Bird Talk]”

  1. Walked the beach from the Roosevelt to National yesterday and indeed saw more gulls since the end of the summer rush, but still not the numbers I recall. As with most things, if you see something daily over a period of years, one may not notice as much change as someone who is seeing the same scene after several years absence.

    OK, so I missed the Plovers and glad to know they’re still here.

    Thank you for the links describing our resident Gulls. Now I can impress visiting city-dweller friends with their correct names!

    Looks like I need to take more walks on the beach.

    Thank you. Resident Bird Expert! 🙂

  2. Come down by me (Pacific). They’re always on the beach and going through people’s garbage in the morning.

    Thanks for the links to the types of gulls we have. That’s pretty cool.

  3. Gulls feed in the bay frequently, usually at low tide when more bay bottom is exposed. Disgusting as it sounds vast numbers feed at the garbage landfills. By law the landfills are covered with earth at the end of the day and gulls head back to the shore line.

    Try this: bring a bag of stale bread–the bigger the better. Look around from the boardwalk and you see no gulls. Start breaking up the bread and throwing it on the beach. MAGIC!!! Gulls appear as if from nowhere–zillions of them and they will even try to get it from your hand or stand at your feet and grab scraps.

    There are more gulls there than you ever imagined. You will see many flying north at sunset–they overnight at the sandbars in the bay, safe from domestic dangers.

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