Scientists at the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island could use the public's help as they track the seagull population.

In May, they banded the adults and later this month, the chicks will be banded.

It will then be up to people in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to see the banded birds and report them using The Gulls of Appledore blog site.

The seagulls being tracked don't stay at Appledore Island year-round. According to the blog, some of the banded seagulls go to Appledore Island to breed and then take off once the chicks are matured.

2E2 is one of those birds. He lives at Plum Island in Massachusetts most of the year.

Professor Sarah Courchesne, who works at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Mass., explained the importance of receiving the public's help with the project. She goes to the Isles of Shoals for banding trips but is not sitting in an office there counting and monitoring the seagull population.

"We are completely reliant on the public to tell us when they see the bands," Courchesne said.

Despite their presence in New England, little is known about how seagulls spend their lives.

Photo by Kimberley Haas
Photo by Kimberley Haas

This time of year they are fluffy babies who spend their days sitting in the sun and learning how to "make a living," Courchesne said.

Courchesne explained that some seagulls learn the steal people's french fries, hotdogs and lobster rolls, while others learn to fish for a living.

Photo by Kimberley Haas
Photo by Kimberley Haas

Courchesne said seagulls may appear to be interchangeable, but they are not.

"Gulls have their own personalities, just like people do," Courchesne said.


Courchesne said their research this year is important because they lost last year due to COVID-19. This year, they can't have interns on the island due to the protocols in place.

Waterlife off Long Island
Bruce Bennett

Jennifer Seavey, who is the executive director of Shoals Marine Laboratory, said they are running some in-person academic programs and the whole island community is tested multiple times a week for COVID-19.

The island is typically a hotbed for research in the summer months so Seavey said they have been trying to use podding and other safety measures to keep the science going this year.

They are committed to serving the undergraduate community so more research can take place in the future.

"You can only keep all that research going if you have the next generation of scientists trained," Seavey said.

For more information on the Shoals Marine Laboratory and the programs they offer, visit

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at

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