This seagull was banded by COA students on Maine's Great Duck Island during the summer of 2015 and showed up six months later in Mississippi. This seagull was banded by COA students on Maine's Great Duck Island during the summer of 2015 and showed up six months later in Mississippi. Credit: Brian Johnston

When local bird watcher Brian Johnston of Pascagoula and friends discovered the youngster they were able to read her identification band and begin a search as to her origin.

While at Point Park in Pascagoula, Johnston first noticed the young herring gull perched on the pier railing. “The bird had a red color-coded band on its left leg,” he said. “I snapped some pics of the bird, then looked at the picture and zoomed in.”

Johnston then read the characters “K2A” on the red band. “We also noticed the bird had a federal aluminum band on its right leg with five digits visible and readable,” he said.

That day in late January, Johnston went online to network with bird watching friends and groups to seek information on the gull. “With help from Nick Winstead, the information was sent to some Maine gull banders he knew of,” Johnston said. “Turns out, this is their bird!”

On Feb. 3, Johnston got the connection he wanted when John Anderson, a professor of ecology and natural history at the College of the Atlantic, sent him what he called “the rest of the story.”

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