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Why Are There Seagulls In Charlotte?

seagulls
Alan Schmierer / Flickr
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Editor's Note: A version of this episode was originally published June 4, 2019.

It's summer, and lots of us are headed to the beach to play in the sand and see the marine wildlife. But some of our listeners say they've seen coastal creatures right here at home.

WFAE listener Rachel Eldridge was driving through west Charlotte two years ago when she first became aware of them.

"I noticed off Freedom Drive that there were seagulls hanging out in the parking lot," she said back in 2018. That was puzzling to her, considering Charlotte is some 200 miles from the coast. So what gives?

To find out, we reached out to local birder Taylor Piephoff, who's a member of the Mecklenburg Audubon Society and a former bird columnist for The Charlotte Observer, and asked him to help explain.

He joins us on this episode of FAQ City and walks us through the reasons why seagulls (or "gulls" as they're really called) have been spending time in the Charlotte area, and why they'd want to hang out in our parking lots.

To learn about birds (and gulls) that can be found around Charlotte, check out the Mecklenburg Audubon Society's website.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. He work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal
Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.