Happy birthday to “my” 27-year old Herring Gull

I’m a happy man: “my” local Herring Gull has officially reached the grand old age of 27, thereby once more confirming his status of being the oldest known color-ringed Herring Gull in The Netherlands.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

We know his age because as a juvenile, he was fitted with 2 color rings (Black D/Green A) on 10 July 1986 in a former gull colony near The Hague. (The ring combination has turned into the nickname “ZDGA”, which is an abbreviation for Black D/Green A in Dutch: Zwart D/Groen A).

By the way: as you will see in the photos and video, the black ring has been lost. This happened in June 2012.

I have come to bond with ZDGA ever since I have been following him since 2009 and he has been the subject of many blog posts.

I have been unsure for some time if he would ever reach this age because tonight was my first observation since May 25th, a total of 42 days ago! It is very unusual for him to be out of sight during the breeding season for such a long time and I was therefore concerned that he would not be around anymore.

To my huge relief, he turned up tonight at his usual location and at the usual time as if he had never been away. And almost as a present from him to me, he allowed me to take some great photos and video of him.

Happy 27th birthday ZDGA, and many happy returns!

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. The primary moult is clearly visible: P1 to P3 are new and fully grown, P4 has been dropped and/or is growing, P5 to P10 are old.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. The primary moult is clearly visible: P1 to P3 are new and fully grown, P4 has been dropped and/or is growing, P5 to P10 are old.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. The primary moult is clearly visible: P1 to P3 are new and fully grown, P4 has been dropped and/or is growing, P5 to P10 are old.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. The primary moult is clearly visible: P1 to P3 are new and fully grown, P4 has been dropped and/or is growing, P5 to P10 are old.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013. At this time of year a bare patch can be seen in his right neck, thereby clearly showing his age.

European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013, looking for left overs with other Herring Gulls.

27-year old European Herring Gull, (Black D)/Green A, Leiden, The Netherlands, 6 July 2013, looking for left overs with other Herring Gulls.

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2 thoughts on “Happy birthday to “my” 27-year old Herring Gull

  1. What’s happened to his face and neck, anyway? Does he have mange, do you know? Or is it something like a huge scar?

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