- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - A six-month-old herring gull named K2A has defied the odds by flying more than 1,700 miles from Great Duck Island in Maine to Pascagoula’s Point Park.

Pascagoula bird watcher Brian Johnston said he discovered the bird in late January in Point Park, the Mississippi Press (http://bit.ly/1KKqKPt ) reported. After snapping some pictures of the gull, he noticed a red band on its left leg with the characters, “K2A.”

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

Johnston canvassed bird watching friends online, seeking 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!”

Johnston discovered the bird had been banded on July 22 in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Banders and biologists in Bar Harbor said Pascagoula is the farthest away any of their birds has ever been reported in the 17 years that they have been banding.

Each year a small sub-set of nests on Great Duck Island in Maine is selected for close monitoring to determine survival and fledgling success, said John Anderson, professor at the College of the Atlantic. The chicks are banded using metal federal bands, weighed and measured each time they are caught.

“K2A was small for a fledgling, and light weight is not a good sign in a bird that has a long distance to go,” Anderson said. The fact that she flew so far, he said, means she beat the odds.

K2A continues hanging around Point Park and seems at home, Johnston said.

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Information from: The Mississippi Press, http://www.gulflive.com

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