Maturing seagulls loudly prepare for 1st migration over Wascana Park

Adult and maturing seagulls are flocking in large groups as they prepare for their annual migration. Sean Lerat-Stetner / Global News

Late summer and early fall, it’s the time of year in Regina when an evening walk around Wascana Lake is easily interrupted by the cawing of hundreds of seagulls flying overhead and bobbing in the water.

It may seem like the gulls are taking over the park at times, running afoul of other aquatic birds like the Canadian geese and mallard ducks. The seemingly sudden seagull surge is bolstered by the now mature fledglings leaving the nest.

“The perception of there being more is just that the young are more vocal and mobile,” Wascana Centre Authority ecologist Sarah Romuld said.

Some nearby residents have said they can hear the gulls late into the night as they prepare for their annual migration, but unfortunately, local noise bylaws don’t apply to urban wildlife.

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People can expect to see flocks congregating near warm places and food sources. Romuld said this includes Wascana Lake, and she’s seen large groups looking for rollback deals on scraps at the east Regina Walmart.

Even though it’s technically still summer, Romuld said several birds have already begun migrating, so the seagulls will soon take their chatter south. It’s just a matter of when the weather starts to cool down.

“Some started early August, some started well into September, some even into October – they’re kind of staggered. So it’s dependent on weather and then resources. So once it starts getting cooler and less for them, then they’ll start leaving,” she explained.

Everyone’s seen a seagull and few people are likely big fans of them, but this is also prime bird-watching season for more picturesque species.

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“The east lake is a migratory bird sanctuary, so it’s federally designated as that and it’s the perfect spot to go birding,” Romuld said.

“At this time of year, you have a lot of migratory birds that follow along that route. So they’ll stop here for a couple days or a couple hours and then continue on. So any day you come, you’ll see different birds.”

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In addition to regulars like geese, ducks and pelicans, Romuld said the east lake in Wascana Park also welcomes swans and many different songbirds at this time of year. She said the best time to see them is dawn and dusk when they’re less active.

“If you’re an early bird and here just before sunrise it’s the best time to see them.”