EcoHealth

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 195–204 | Cite as

Egg Oiling to Reduce Hatch-Year Ring-Billed Gull Numbers on Chicago’s Beaches During Swim Season and Water Quality Test Results

  • Richard M. Engeman
  • John W. Hartmann
  • Scott F. Beckerman
  • Thomas W. Seamans
  • Sarah Abu-Absi
Original Contribution

Abstract

A burgeoning ring-billed gull population along Chicago’s Lake Michigan beaches contributes to degraded water quality through fecal contamination. Egg oiling was conducted at Chicago’s gull colonies to reduce production and the influx of hatch-year (HY) gulls using Chicago’s beaches, with a second, long-term objective of eventually reducing adult gull numbers through attrition. We also investigated swim season water quality trends through the course of this work. From 2007 to 2009, 52, 80, and 81%, of nests at the two primary nest colonies had their eggs rendered inviable by corn oil application. Counts of HY and after hatch-year (AHY) gulls were analyzed during treatment years for 10 beaches. Water quality data were available from the Chicago Park District during our three treatment years and the prior year (baseline) for 19 beaches. HY counts declined at all 10 surveyed beaches from the initial year (52% nests with oiled eggs) to subsequent years with ~80% of nests oiled. Overall, HY gulls numbers on beaches decreased 86% from 2007 to 2009. Decreases in beach usage by AHY gulls were not detected. Compared to pretreatment, the number of beaches with improved water quality test rates increased each year through the course of the study. The frequency of water quality tests showing bacterial exceedances compared to 2006 declined at 18 of 19 beaches by 2009. Egg oiling resulted in fewer HY gulls using Chicago’s beaches and was likely a beneficial factor for reduced frequencies of swim advisories and swim bans.

Keywords

bacterial exceedances E. coli contamination Larus delawarensis population monitoring swim advisories swim bans 

Supplementary material

10393_2012_760_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 kb)

References

  1. Blackwell BF, Seamans, TW, Helon DA, Dolbeer RA. (2000) Early loss of herring gull clutches after egg-oiling. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28:70-75.Google Scholar
  2. Duerr A, Donovan TM, Capen DE. (2007) Management-induced reproductive failure and breeding dispersal in double-crested cormorants on Lake Champlain, Journal of Wildlife Management. 71:2565-2574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Edge TA, Hill, S. (2007) Multiple lines of evidence to identify the sources of fecal pollution at a freshwater beach in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario. Water Research 41:3585-3594.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ely E. (2006) Bacteria methods for recreational waters, a short history and guide The Volunteer Monitor 18:8-12.Google Scholar
  5. Gabrey SW. (1996) Migration and dispersal in Great Lakes Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. Journal of Field Ornithology 67:327-339.Google Scholar
  6. Hadidian J, Hodge GR, Grandy JW. (1997) Wild Neighbors: the humane approach to living with wildlife. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Ickes SK, Belant JL, Dolbeer, RA. (1998) Nest disturbance techniques to control nesting by gulls. Wildlife Society Bulletin 26:269-273.Google Scholar
  8. Kinzelman J, McLellan SL, Amick A, Preedit J, Scopel CO, Olapade O, Gradus S, Singh A, Sedmak G. (2008) Identification of human enteric pathogens in gull feces at Southwestern Lake Michigan bathing beaches. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 54:1006-1015.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kinzelman J, McLellan SL, Daniels A, Cashin S, Singh A, Gradus S, Bagley R. (2004) Non-point Source Pollution: Determination of Replication versus Persistence of Escherichia coli in Surface Water and Sediments with Correlation of Levels to Readily Measurable Environmental Parameters. Journal of Water Health 2:103-114.Google Scholar
  10. Lake County Board. (2004) Lake County Regional Framework Plan. Lake County Illinois. www.co.lake.il.us/health (click Press Release).
  11. Levesque B, Brousseau P, Bernier F, Dewailly E, Joly, J. (2000) Study of the bacterial content of ring-billed gull droppings in relation to recreational water quality. Water Research 34:1089-1096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ludwig JP. (1974) Recent changes in the ring-billed gull population and biology in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Auk 91:575-594.Google Scholar
  13. Mousseau P. (1984) A comparison of two methods to assess the breeding success of ring-billed gulls. Journal of Field Ornithology: 55:151-159.Google Scholar
  14. Nol E, Blokpoel H. (1983) Incubation period of ring-billed gulls and the egg immersion technique. Wilson Bulletin 95:283-286.Google Scholar
  15. Nugent B, Gagne K, Dillingham MJ. (2008) Managing gulls to reduce fecal coliform bacteria in a municipal drinking water source. Vertebrate Pest Conference 23:26-30.Google Scholar
  16. Olijnyk, C.G. & Brown, K.M. (1999) Results of a seven year effort to reduce nesting by herring and great black-backed gulls. Waterbirds 22: 285-289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pochop PA, Cummings JL, Yoder CA, Steuber JE. (1998) Comparison of white mineral oil and corn oil to reduce hatchability in ring-billed gull eggs. Vertebrate Pest Conference 18:411-413.Google Scholar
  18. Rader JA, Beckerman SF, Seamans TW, Beazley S (2008) Report to the City of Chicago on Conflicts with Ring-Billed Gulls and the 2007 Gull Damage Management Pilot Project. (Prepared for Chicago Department of Environment). Springfield, IL: USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services.Google Scholar
  19. RTI International (2011) Bacteria TDMLs for Illinois’ Lake Michigan Beaches Options Summary report. Task Order 2010-25, Report to the US Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  20. Ryder JP (1993) Ring-billed gull. In: The Birds of North America, No. 33, Poole A, Stettenheim P, Gill F (editors), Philadelphia, Washington, DC: The Academy of Natural Sciences, The American Ornithologists’ Union.Google Scholar
  21. Sauer JR, Hines JE, Fallon JE, Pardieck KL, Ziolkowski Jr. DJ, Link WA (2011) The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2009. Version 3.23.2011. Laurel, MD: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.Google Scholar
  22. Shaikh SL. (2006) “Fact Sheet: The Value of Chicago Beaches”. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  23. Souciw WT, Pfister MA (2003) E. coli source identification on Lake Michigan Beaches in Lake County, Illinois. Great Lakes Beach Association Annual Meeting.Google Scholar
  24. US Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, US Department of Agriculture/Forest Service and Department of Interior/Bureau of Land Management. (1997) Animal Damage Control Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (Revised). Washington, DC: USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.Google Scholar
  25. Weseloh DV. (1984) The origins of banded herring gulls recovered in the Great Lakes region. Journal of Field Ornithology 55:190-195.Google Scholar
  26. Whitman RL, Nevers MB. (2003) Foreshore sand as a source of Escherichia coli in nearshore water of a Lake Michigan beach. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69:5555-5562.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Whitman RL, Nevers MB, Korinek GC, Byappanahalli MN. (2004) Solar and temporal effects on E. coli concentration at a Lake Michigan swimming beach. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70:4276-4285.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Engeman
    • 1
  • John W. Hartmann
    • 2
  • Scott F. Beckerman
    • 2
  • Thomas W. Seamans
    • 3
  • Sarah Abu-Absi
    • 4
  1. 1.USDA/APHIS-Wildlife Services-National Wildlife Research CenterFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.USDA/APHIS-Wildlife ServicesSpringfieldUSA
  3. 3.USDA/APHIS-Wildlife Services-National Wildlife Research CenterSanduskyUSA
  4. 4.WRD Environmental, c/o Chicago Department of EnvironmentChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations