Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Dalla Pria, C., Cawkwell, F., Newton, S., and Holloway, P.
City Living: Nest-Site Selection Preferences in Urban Herring Gulls, Larus argentatus
Optional Fields
animal behaviour; gulls; habitat selection; hierarchical scales; human–wildlife conflict; landscape ecology
Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are declining globally, but there are populations who are taking advantage of the new foraging and nesting opportunities afforded to them by urban landscapes. Nest-site selection (NSS) in urban environs is understudied, despite its critical role in supporting planning policy, biodiversity conservation and the management of human–wildlife conflict. The aim of this study was to assess the contribution of anthropogenic habitat features to NSS in urban populations of L. argentatus at different hierarchical levels in Fingal County, Ireland. We used generalised linear models with a logit function to investigate the relationship among nest sites, building features, street furniture (i.e., streetlights and refuse bins), landscape features, and presence of conspecifics at three different hierarchical levels, including the county, town, and colony levels. L. argentatus preferentially chose buildings that were closer to streetlights and food sources at the colony level, while avoiding streetlights when considered in isolation. Conspecific attraction at the county and colony levels indicated that individuals avoided neighbouring nest sites, yet this relationship was inverted at the town level, suggesting preference. Moreover, 75% of nests were within 30 m of each other (the average road width in the study area) when measured at the county level. Various relationships with different food sources were identified, suggesting within-population variation among preferences for nest sites. There appears to be a substantial population variation among preferences for nest sites, which does appear to be driven by the cross-scale decisions involved in nest-site selection.
Grant Details