We used satellite telemetry to investigate the migration patterns and wintering areas of Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens) from Middleton Island, Alaska, where this species' population increased tenfold from the 1970s to the 1990s. Fall migration spanned 11 weeks, including numerous stopovers en route, apparently for feeding. Spring migration from wintering sites to Middleton Island was shorter (4 weeks) and more direct. One juvenile spent several months in southern Prince William Sound. An adult spent several months near Craig, southeast Alaska, while three others overwintered in southern British Columbia. For all four wintering adults use of refuse-disposal sites was evident or strongly suggested. Commensalism with humans may have contributed to the increase on Middleton, but a strong case can also be made for a competing explanation-regional recruitment of gulls to high-quality nesting habitat in Alaska created after the earthquake of 1964. An analysis of band returns reveals broad overlap in the wintering grounds of gulls from different Alaska colonies and of gulls banded on the west coast from British Columbia to California. The seasonal movement of many gulls from Alaska is decidedly migratory, whereas gulls from British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon disperse locally in winter.
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Vol. 113 • No. 2