Urban gulls adapt foraging schedule to human-activity patterns

Anouk Spelt, Oliver Soutar, Cara Williamson, Jane Memmott, Judy Shamoun-Baranes, Peter Rock, Shane Windsor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Downloads (Pure)


Numerous animals are able to adapt to temporal patterns in natural food availability, but whether species living in relatively novel environments such as cities can adapt to anthropogenic activity cycles is less well understood. We aimed to assess the extent to which urban gulls have adapted their foraging schedule to anthropogenic food source fluctuations related to human activity by combining field observations at three distinct urban feeding grounds (park, school and waste centre) with global positioning system (GPS) tracking data of gulls visiting similar types of feeding grounds throughout the same city. We found that the birds’ foraging patterns closely matched the timing of school breaks and the opening and closing times of the waste centre, but gull activity in the park appeared to correspond with the availability of natural food sources. Overall, this suggests that gulls may have the behavioural flexibility to adapt their foraging behaviour to human time schedules when beneficial and that this trait could potentially enable them to thrive in cities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020


  • behaviour
  • anthropogenic food sources
  • urban ecology
  • temporal patterns
  • GPS
  • obseervations


Dive into the research topics of 'Urban gulls adapt foraging schedule to human-activity patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this