Alderney Bird Observatory warden John Horton said the distance travelled by the bird in such a brief period of time was unusual.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on July 31, 2019

The seagull is a bird that appears to fly at speed.

But a lesser black-backed seagull has shocked bird lovers after travelling more than 500 miles in seven days.

The seagull was recorded by the Alderney Bird Observatory in the Channel Islands on July 17.

The same bird was spotted at Ares Beach in the port city of A Coruña in of Galicia, Spain, on July 24.

The lesser black-backed seagull was ringed on the bird sanctuary of Burhou, northwest of Alderney in the Channel islands on July 17.

Alderney Bird Observatory warden John Horton said that the distance travelled by the bird in such a brief period of time was unusual.

“It could be wind direction. It could have known there was a safe place with plenty to eat so it just headed straight there,” Horton told SWNS.

“They have stop-off points along their migration.”

Horton said that the seagulls arrive at Burhou Island off Alderney in the Channel Islands to breed during the Northern Hemisphere summer. They have been known to migrate as far as Morocco, Horton said.

The Alderney Bird Observatory reported last month that they had ringed 144 lesser black-backed Gull chicks and one Herring Gull chick, 30 more than the previous year.

The Channel Islands – British Crown Dependencies – are located in the English Channel off the coast of Northern France.

Very light GPS tracking equipment – less than 1.5 grams – can be used to track birds without hampering their flights and it is now known that birds can fly huge distances.


Biologists fitted GPS trackers to the aptly named wandering albatross and found out that these large birds can travel at least 15,000 km (just under 10,000 miles) over the sea before returning to land, which is akin to flying non-stop from Houston, Texas, to Perth, Australia. That’s further than most private jets can travel.

The wandering albatross is able to stay in the skies above its Southern Ocean habitat for as long as it wants to, only needing to flap its wings, which have a span of 3.5 metres (11.5 feet), every few hours. The wandering albatross’s wings are the longest of any bird on Earth.