Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seagulls move to the big city in Japan: Is civilization's encroachment becoming too much?

From time immemorial, black-tailed gulls have looked for two things in their nesting colonies: rockiness and inaccessibility.

Ornithologists wanting to study the birds' breeding habits had to brave windswept coastal rocks and islands off the coast of northern Japan.

Now, an innovative colony has appeared just off Tokyo's Yamanote railway line and appears to be thriving in the urban jungle.

Hiroyoshi Higuchi, a professor of ecology at the University of Tokyo, said he confirmed in June that black-tailed gull chicks were being raised on the roof of a building in Ueno in Tokyo's Taito Ward.

He said he would monitor carefully as to how the birds' fertility will affect the urban ecosystem.

"We do not know where the feeding area is, but the number of birds should certainly grow once a breeding ground is established," said Higuchi. "They could prey on such water birds as grebes, spot-billed ducks and little terns as well as sparrow eggs and chicks." (more)