Algarvian seagulls “fly 5,500 kms”

Two seagulls ‘rescued’ and treated by Algarve animal recovery centre RIAS before being released back into the wild have been tagged over 5,000 kms away, in Scotland and Iceland (the country).

The news – received as a result of ornithologists and birding enthusiasts recording the birds’ leg ring numbers – has delighted experts at RIAS, as it proves to them that they’re doing ‘good work’, said the centre’s Thijs Valkenburg.

It has also added to data on just how far these birds fly, and how healthy they are in the process.

“We very happy with these sightings”, said Valkenburg, explaining that one of the birds was sighted in a private garden in Edinburgh, Scotland (roughly 2,200 kms from the Algarve), “looking for food”; the other was recorded in Iceland – 3,300 kms from where RIAS had released him back into the wild in 2016.

Both gulls will have “travelled thousands of miles in their migrations”, said Valkenburg, adding that of the 1500 seagulls that RIAS has nursed back to health and released, “more than half have been sighted in good health”.

“Our work gives them a second chance, so that they can nest”, he added.

This ‘good news story’, coming in Saturday’s edition of Correio da Manhã, gives no hint of the antipathy often felt by seaside communities towards seagulls which have encroached more and more on urban areas and in some Algarve towns are considered real pests (click here).

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photo: seagulls in Carvoeiro, Laurinda Seabra