ALAN traps Silver Gulls?

To: "'New birding-aus'" <>
Subject: ALAN traps Silver Gulls?
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 08:50:08 +1100

Whilst the article has some concerning information and suggestions, I reckon that one sentence about Silver Gulls at the end is something of a nonsense. Or it is describing a very different issue from the subject of the rest of the article. That they do this is true but surely they are not confused. They clearly are using the night time lights as a means to gather up extra food as many moths and likely other insects are attracted by the lights. Magpies and Masked Lapwings will also be actively feeding at night under the floodlights on the attracted or more visible insects. In these cases, the danger is to the population of insects.




From: Birding-Aus [ On Behalf Of Martin Butterfield
Sent: Tuesday, 22 January, 2019 8:29 AM
To: Peter Shute
Cc: New birding-aus
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] ALAN traps Silver Gulls?


The motion visible in flocks of gulls in floodlights is very like the motion of daytime flocks feeding off swarming insects.  We saw a flock of 100 gulls on a floodlit car park last night: presumably they had a good feed and then a snooze.  


Other birds are also attracted to insects in floodlights: at Canberra Stadium it is reasonably common to see a Hobby feeding in the light.  (In recent years it's also common to see a bunch of turkeys on the paddock.)




On Tue, 22 Jan 2019 at 07:15, Peter Shute <> wrote:

Apologies, the magazine is Australian Birdlife, not Wingspan. It appears it changed name about 7 years ago


Peter Shute


From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Peter Shute
Sent: 16 January 2019 8:12 AM
To: New birding-aus <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] ALAN traps Silver Gulls?


In the December 2018 issue of Wingspan, there's an article about the dangers of ALAN (artificial light at night) to birds because it upsets their night navigation abilities (Fatal Attraction, John Peter, p53). It offers Silver Gulls as a local example:

"Silver Gulls provide the most conspicuous examples of ALAN-related discombulation in Australia, with their white forms obvious as they swirl above floodlit city landmarks or night matches at arenas."


I'd always believed the story that they're feeding on flying insects, not confused and lost. Is that story wrong?


Peter Shute

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