by Carl Strang
My thesis research back in the early 1970’s focused on glaucous gulls as predators.
My host, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, was especially interested in the gulls as predators of goose eggs and goslings.
I found that coastal gulls were mainly after seafood. They were opportunists that took advantage of exposed nests and broods, but birds were not their main target. In fact, geese often nested within the gull nesting colonies.
Inland gulls were more focused on terrestrial prey, but they were widely scattered pairs and so their impact was limited. I spent many hours watching predator activity.
Even that far north, the number of species of both predators and prey was impressive, and as I watched the predators working the landscape I sensed the turns of the ecological dance they were performing in the summer. Here are some of the major players on the predator side, in addition to the glaucous gulls, in western Alaska.
The lesson was to attend to the predators in any landscape, and it informs me to this day.