Western Gull Chicks Nesting on Monterey Rooftops
Two Western Gull chicks were getting some air as they practiced their flapping together. These are the gulls who nest every year on the El Torito rooftop in Monterey. We had extended time in the area, and stopped by this colony to check on the babies, whenever we’d walk the waterfront.
The gull on the left seemed to be taking his or her lead from the more active baby on the right.
My first experience photographing a rooftop gull colony was in Seattle. A kind person who followed my blog at the time, alerted me to some families of Glaucous-winged Gulls, nesting on hotel roof below her loft.
Ever since, I’ve had a deep fondness for these little guys. It takes so much to get them from tiny fluff ball to fully-flighted gull. Watching them develop through their life stages endears me to gulls even more.
As humans have taken and developed so much habitat, wild animals appropriate places of their own among our structures — where they can. Rooftop nesting sites have some advantages, in terms of protection from ground predators and humans. But they are still vulnerable to aerial predators (owls, in some case), to the elements, and to the possible slips chicks face as they start moving about. While we were at this site one day, we learned of one injured gull rescued the day before, delivered to Monterey SPCA for rehabilitation.
The hazards of early life for most wild animals are many, irrepsective of where they nest and fledge. I’m not sure of the survival ratio at this particular colony, but based on the number of ready-to-fly youngers we saw, I suspect the majority do fledge.
The gull chick pictured here on the a-frame rooftop was just a few blocks away from the El Torito colony, at another smaller nesting site.
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