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Caitlin Fitch

Seagull Island

Western Gulls Breed on Anacapa Island


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Caitlin Fitch

Anacapa Island’s plentiful population of western gulls is a sight to behold. Beginning in late April, the birds lay their gray, spotted eggs all over the steep cliff island. The parents then spend their time feeding and protecting their young, as well as dive-bombing and screeching at tourists who get too close to their nests. The thousands of seabirds on the Channel Islands — they also roost on Santa Barbara Island — make up the largest nesting population of western gulls in the world. By late July, the gray-and-brown-feathered hatchlings are old enough to fly away from their cozy island home. It will be four years before the juveniles turn the familiar white and gray colors.

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