Over 30 volunteers spent the day on Friday attempting to ring almost 200 newborn chicks born this year on the Torrevieja Salinas.

The event was organised by Councillor Fanny Serrano on the occasion of the International Day of the Environment with the intention of ringing all Audouin’s gull chicks. Also providing their help and assistance were the Department of Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change and Rural Development.

In the late 1960s, this was one of the world’s rarest gulls, with a population of only 1,000 pairs. It has established new colonies, but still remains quite rare with a population of about 10,000 pairs.

In little more than an hour in the salinas, however, a total of 200 Audouin gull chicks were sighted and identified and with a pair of PVC rings. The councilor said that they try to carry out the process in the shortest possible time “to reduce the impact and the stress on the colony of this threatened seagull”.

Municipal biologist, Juan Antonio Pujol, explained that this banding will be very useful in allowing ornithologists to obtain more data about the biology of this species and its migratory habits and thus contribute to its recovery.

Blood samples have been taken to study possible diseases (an operation carried out by the veterinary team from the Sata Faz Recovery Centre in Alicante) who were also able to analyse the possible concentration of heavy metals in the diet of these birds.

Pujol has said that there has been an encouraging increase in the size of the colony which has settled in the facilities of the Salinera Company, which is also involved in the protection of these birds, from more than 1,700 breeding pairs in 2016 to over 1,900 today.