Counts on photographs and visual estimates of the numbers of territorial gulls are usually reliable indicators of the number of gull nests, but single visual estimates are not adequate to measure the number of nests in individual colonies. To properly interpret gull counts requires that several islands with known numbers of nests be photographed to establish the ratio of gulls to nests applicable for a given local census. Visual estimates are adequate to determine total breeding gull numbers by regions. Neither visual estimates nor photography will reliably detect annual changes of less than about 2.5 percent.
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Aerial estimation of the size of gull breeding colonies