Gull abatement at Bay Area landfills

Noah Arthur

It seems that landfills throughout the Bay Area have increased their gull hazing efforts this season, and especially within the last week, and gulling opportunities are quickly being curtailed. I first noticed surprisingly few gulls around Alviso and Half Moon Bay in November, but chalked it up to perhaps one nearby landfill being closed. However, as of this week, the scarcity of landfill gulls seems to be a region-wide phenomenon. Today I watched a trained Peregrine strafing gulls on the Davis Street landfill in San Leandro, where the gull flock was down to at most 1/3 of the numbers that were there just a week ago. Even more dramatically, the Shollenberger Park gull flock (which probably mostly comes from Redwood Landfill), has dwindled from thousands to no more than 100 birds within just the last few days. Additionally, in places where moderate numbers of gulls still do roost after feeding on landfills (e.g. Alviso), they are seemingly arriving later in the day than they used to -- mostly just before sunset (when it's too late for good photos) -- perhaps because they have to spend longer each day foraging when they are constantly being flushed by falconry raptors. 

This may be the end of gulling as we know it in the Bay Area, with the exception of herring run season, since all the (formerly) reliable gull flocks I know of are associated with landfills...


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