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Thread: Invasive Seagulls on the Palmer Hay Flats

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    Default Invasive Seagulls on the Palmer Hay Flats

    I call the Seagulls "invasive" because I do not believe that they are a Native population to the flats, at least in the large numbers they populate the flats now. These invaders are supported by Palmer and Wasilla fast food establishments, the human population in general and especially the Mat-su waste dump. I watched gulls drive waterfowl out of Potter Marsh over the last 10 years. That most rare and valued duck the Canvasback was starting to establish a foothold at Potter with a number of breeding pairs having numbers of chicks. No more! I have watched the gulls harass the Canvasbacks there and drive them away. I believe that some of these Canvasbacks have now went to the Hayflats and are trying to get established there are being attacked and harassed. Seagulls nest early at the Flats and are half-grown just when many ducklings are just being born. I believe that there is subsequent high mortality among the ducklings due to invasive gulls., both adult and first year cohorts of young gulls. I have watched this drama for 8 years on the flats during the spring and summer months and have witnessed dead ducklings and many attacks on adult and young waterfowl. It seems that the duck population is on the decline and may have been reduced by at least one quarter to a third.

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    Gulls are now invasive everywhere because they're federally protected. Once the feds get involved, expect problems, and expect them for the rest of your life.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Gulls,terns and such are deadly to all water nesting birds. At least here we don't have to worry about ratcoons,possum,skunks and snakes helping to distroy the waterfowl like the lower 48.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Is there any perceived problem, real or imagined, that is not blamed on "the feds"?
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    Gulls on a tidally influenced hay flat...invasive?

    I'd wager the camo clad crowd with the shotguns have the invasive species market cornered.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Is there any perceived problem, real or imagined, that is not blamed on "the feds"?
    I can't think of many that, if not directly caused by the Feds, weren't made more severe or uncorrectable by them.
    The only other option is they are caused by the greenie groups, and it would be impolitic to say that!
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    Gulls on a tidally influenced hay flat...invasive?

    I'd wager the camo clad crowd with the shotguns have the invasive species market cornered.....
    .........
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Is there any perceived problem, real or imagined, that is not blamed on "the feds"?
    The endangered status of Cape porcupines in Zimbabwe.

    But when the feds protect seagulls here, and you become awash in sea gull problems, the clue is pretty compelling.................

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brain View Post
    But when the feds protect seagulls here, and you become awash in sea gull problems, the clue is pretty compelling.................
    An interesting assessment of cause and effect. Does the same logic carry over to the European Starling?
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    So just when did this recent Federal Protection come into play. Was Alaska exempted from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 between the US and Great Britain (Canada)? Doesn't seem like there would be a cause/effect relationship at play in this case.
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    Seagulls have been protected my entire life, I remeber not being able to shoot them in the 60's, long time ago. We had lots of gulls flying around the high school i attended, eating scraps from lunches and garbage. I wonder if they have increased in some areas due to gargage, etc, like Swamp Man believes. And way back then, we still had a lot more ducks then we have now. Would be interesting to see if there are any studies on the subject and if their population increased, did duck nesting survival rate decrease in that area. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    An interesting assessment of cause and effect. Does the same logic carry over to the European Starling?
    Are European Starlings federally protected?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brain View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brain View Post
    But when the feds protect seagulls here, and you become awash in sea gull problems, the clue is pretty compelling.................
    An interesting assessment of cause and effect. Does the same logic carry over to the European Starling?
    Are European Starlings federally protected?
    No, European Starlings are not protected, and yet the country is awash in Starling problems. It would seem that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (the "fed" protection you were referring to) has little to do with whether or not an area is "awash" in a particular species, eh?
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    No, European Starlings are not protected, and yet the country is awash in Starling problems. It would seem that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (the "fed" protection you were referring to) has little to do with whether or not an area is "awash" in a particular species, eh?
    What it would "seem" is that the starling invasion (like the wild hog invasion) has nothing to do with the Migratory Species Act, and everything to do with fools introducing species where they don't belong.

    Do you posit that there is one and only one reason why a species can become invasive, or are you just sensitive to those which are caused by foolish federal policies?

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    IMHO this is due to the development of the gulls traditional nesting areas in the marshes in Anchorage. Pushing the birds elsewhere. When I was in jr high and high school it seemed every inland marsh or bog was a packed nesting area.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    So, instead of quibbling about semantics why don't we discuss the issue presented?

    I have not used the KPHRA enough to have the necessary historical perspective on seagull use but let's say for a minute that the OP's anecdotal assessment is accurate and that seagull utilization has increased. It would lead to some important questions, would it not?

    1) Has increased gull nesting activity reduced the utilization by waterfowl?
    2) How do waterfowl numbers compare to historical averages?
    3) If waterfowl numbers have decreased due to increased gull nesting what are the allowable options?

    Gulls were removed from Gull Island in Lake Hood in the 90's by setting 3 pigs loose on the island. The pigs ate the eggs and chicks, effectively driving the gulls elsewhere. Because there was a clear hazard to aircraft and people, and exemption was granted. I'm confident that any request to remove or eradicate or reduce gull numbers in the Hay Flats would be disapproved.

    It might be possible to inquire with Eklutna Corp about collecting eggs under subsistence rules but I don't know if gull eggs were ever part of the Deni'ina diet.

    For whatever ideas are considered it is important to try to consider the potential consequences of any action. "We" have a fairly rich history of creating bigger problems in our attempts to correct earlier mistakes.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    .....Gulls were removed from Gull Island in Lake Hood in the 90's by setting 3 pigs loose on the island. The pigs ate the eggs and chicks, effectively driving the gulls elsewhere. Because there was a clear hazard to aircraft and people, and exemption was granted. I'm confident that any request to remove or eradicate or reduce gull numbers in the Hay Flats would be disapproved.....
    There's your bottom line right there. Whatever great ideas that might be generated, any kind of culling or even re-routing existing gulls elsewhere will likely be denied.

    It doesn't take long for any species (even with a literal bird brain) to become accustomed to human behavior regarding harvest. If you don't harvest them whatsoever (because they're "special"), they will eventually become a pest. If you hunt them like clockwork every September, their migration routes will change to areas where hunting pressure is less. Thus the marshes in the Anchorage/Mat-Su areas are more full of un-hunted gulls than hunted waterfowl, and the gulls even become underfoot because we feed them inadvertently with our garbage.

    ......It might be possible to inquire with Eklutna Corp about collecting eggs under subsistence rules but I don't know if gull eggs were ever part of the Deni'ina diet.........
    At one time I'll bet they were, but not now (at least not by a significant number of local natives).

    I've got a reputation for eating just about anything, and I don't even like my own domestic duck or goose eggs. They're just too strong. I can only imagine the taste of a sea gull egg. The mere thought tickles the gag reflex...............

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    The thought of eating a sea gull is pretty disgusting too. They are basically rats with wings, and with what they eat, I can't imagine they taste very good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    The thought of eating a sea gull is pretty disgusting too. They are basically rats with wings, and with what they eat, I can't imagine they taste very good.

    Ah BS, they're probably just as good as mergansers...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksAndDogs View Post
    Ah BS, they're probably just as good as mergansers...
    I wound't know anything about that....but I am a spoonbill expert, and everybody says they taste like crap. They taste like duck to me, especially in a big plate of Duckmazing.
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