Seagulls pecking at leftover bratwurst rolls in downtown Nuremberg – this sight may surprise some people. Because most people associate seagulls with the sea. According to the umbrella association of German avifaunists, black-headed gulls are widespread in large parts of the Federal Republic. They also breed in colonies on the large lakes in southern Germany. In winter they move to the cities. Then you can easily observe them in Nuremberg, Landshut or Munich.

The biologist Stefan Böger from the government of Middle Franconia, who co-manages the “Participating Seagulls” project, is interested in these observations. Goal: find out more about the origin of black-headed gulls in the region.

According to the project homepage, the black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) is the most common seagull in Germany and Europe. The chocolate-brown head and the call, which sounds like laughter, are typical. In winter, however, the birds have simple, gray-white plumage without any distinctive head coloring.

Christmas markets and primary schools are very popular with seagulls

According to Böger, initial results indicate that the black-headed gulls in Nuremberg, for example, do not come from Altmühlsee or other nearby ponds, but from Eastern Europe. “At the Christmas market, for example, you will find a richly laid table.”

In Landshut, on the other hand, primary schools are particularly popular, explains Böger’s colleague Philipp Herrmann. Secondary schools, on the other hand, are not as attractive because older children no longer drop as much lunch.