Urban gulls

Since the 1970s, breeding gulls have become an increasingly common sight in urban areas in the UK, bringing them into close contact with people. The explosion in numbers is likely to be due to numerous reasons, including natural nesting sites becoming less attractive to gulls, whilst productivity and survival rates are higher in urban areas.

In an attempt to study the movements and behaviour of these birds, a colour-ringing programme began in 2013, marking Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls breeding in Falmouth. Each blue ring is coded W: followed by three numbers, allowing us to follow birds around the town. Chicks will be ringed at rooftop sites around the town and we will also be catching adults under licence in a portable cage trap.

Herring Gull rings are blue, coded W: followed by three numbers


  1. Hi there. I saw 2 of your cr Herring Gulls in St Ives today (10th August 2015). They were W:185 and W:195, and both were alive and well, and stealing food from unwitting tourists like me! W:195 had a chick in tow

  2. I spotted W:100 a week ago, hanging around Custom House Quay near the shelter there. www.instagram.com/p/BBGAcA2gV03 Quite a friendly bird, and no squawking for food :)

  3. W:100 was still around Custom House Quay on 30/7/17.

    1. Thanks for the report Catherine and it does seem to be a regular there. It was ringed there in October 2015 and hasn't been seen anywhere else since!

  4. W195 still in St Ives today!

  5. W:185 spotted in st Ives today :)