Great Gull Island (GGI) 5oth Anniversary
Thanks and Fundraiser
Dear Linnaean Member:
HATS OFF to all of you who have made it possible for us to monitor the populations of Common and Roseate terns on Great Gull Island over the past 50 years! By clearing areas for Common Terns on the island, this 17-acre tract of terminal moraine rocketed Common Terns to an estimated 9,000 pairs in the 21st Century. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy washed over a number of traditional Roseate Tern nesting sites in the rocks. By terracing the slopes of the Big Gun emplacement and placing nest boxes for Roseates on the terraces, we provided them with alternative nest sites to those they traditionally used. One advantage of the terrace sites is that they are all situated above the rises in sea levels predicted in the coming years.
Your support helped us explore in South America and discover the previously unknown areas where Roseate Terns spend the non-breeding season. We also met researchers from the Azores, Argentina and Brazil with whom we began cooperative projects which continue today. Data from these projects showed a trans-Atlantic movement of Common and Roseate terns, previously undescribed, between the Azores and the coast of Bahia. One Roseate Tern trapped on a nest, in a northeastern colony, and again on a nest in the Azores a few years later, suggested the possibility of gene exchange between the two areas.nbsp;
The annual data collection for both species of terns has been computerized under the direction of Joseph DiCostanzo. We are now writing reports on both species based on data we have collected to be submitted to the Linnaean Society of New York for consideration for publication in their Transactions.
To celebrate the successes of the last 50 years, Anne Via, who works in the Ornithology Department at the American Museum of Natural History, is making a documentary film about Great Gull Island. The film will describe the work we have done on Great Gull Island as well as the data we have collected following the terns to the Azores, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Argentina. It is an ambitious undertaking and she and her team will complete the movie in 2018.
Most importantly, it is critical Great Gull Island remain a place where Roseate and Common terns can safely nest. To that goal, I am working on a plan so that the island may be protected and managed for future generations of Terns.
To mark this special year, there are several levels of giving:
All contributions are welcome. They will support our 50th field season on Great Gull Island as well as the future of the terns. Please make checks payable to “The Great Gull Island Project – AMNH” and send to the following address:
Great Gull Island Project
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West and 79th Street
New York, NY 10024