"Bay Area Sea Gull Population Explodes, Bringing Flocks of Problems"

"HAYWARD -- Every summer day, volunteers and park workers stand guard on a small island in San Francisco Bay. At the first sign of a threat, they race into action -- blowing whistles, clapping hands and blasting horns."

"Their goal: to do whatever it takes to chase away flocks of voracious sea gulls trying to eat tiny endangered birds called least terns that lay eggs at Hayward Regional Shoreline Park. Occasionally, the East Bay Regional Park District even calls out sharpshooters.

The unusual showdown is a small part of a larger drama. In an alarming trend that has scientists scrambling for answers, the bay's population of California Gulls -- squawking, flapping white-and-gray birds that most people associate with the beach -- has exploded from 24 birds in 1980 to more than 53,000 today. In the last two years alone, their numbers soared 41 percent, making the Bay Area home to the second-largest population of California Gulls in the world, behind only Utah's Great Salt Lake."

Paul Rogers reports for the San Jose Mercury News July 22, 2013.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, 07/23/2013