On October 29th they were back. Kunming's feathered friends, the black-headed seagulls, arrived to rest up on their long journey southwards. 200 gulls, the first flock of a flying legion, entered the city and settled in Daguan Park. For 35 years the birds have been coming to Kunming, on their annual trek from Siberia to Southeast Asia.
Before the rest of the gulls' arrival — numbering in the tens of thousands and increasing in number year on year — a campaign was launched to reveal the migration secrets of these gulls.
The bird banding center of China and the Kunming Bird Society have teamed up to collect data in order to better understand the migration routes and living habits of black-headed gulls. Similar research has been done in previous years.
Between November 2018 and this March, they have installed satellite trackers on 92 black-headed gulls and two brown-headed gulls.
The solar-powered trackers can send radio signals and monitor the flight path, speed and altitude of the migrating birds, so as to display the gulls' habits, location and living conditions.
Let's hope the gulls won't run up a huge phone bill, as happened in the case of a similar research project with migrating steppe eagles.
Since we are enjoying extremely nice Autumn weather, why not head out this weekend for some birdwatching? Apart from Daguan Park, Haigeng Dam (海埂大坝) is also a prime location for goofing around with the gulls. If you happen to see Bread Man please take some pictures and give us a shout, we'd love to interview him about his gull fascination and devote an article to him.