HAGRG member Shanti Davis is lead author on a fascinating new paper, hot off the press in PLoS One, that summarizes some of the surprising results of the most comprehensive tracking study of Sabine's gulls ever. Tracks of individual birds nesting at Nasaruvaalik Island over several years confirm that birds from this site migrate to wintering areas in both the Pacific as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Migratory divides within populations typically occur between colonies, very rarely within them, but even more surprising was the the discovery that this divide even occurs between pairs of birds, one of whom leaves the breeding grounds to fly southwest to Peru, the other of which heads southeast to South Africa!
In addition to filling in some really key gaps in our knowledge of this poorly known species, the results of this study have broader theoretical implications in terms of understanding how birds have colonized the Arctic, and what factors lead to the expansion of breeding ranges into extreme environments.
Check out the paper through the link below!