I just went outside (11:30pm) and could hear seagulls screaming/cawing overhead. I looked in the direction of where the sound was coming from and could see a couple hundred of them being illuminated by the lights of the buildings as they flew overhead. It's winter, it's still snowing, I'm just outside Waterton Glacier International Peace Park in Canada, and it's night. Why are there hundreds of seagulls flying around in the dark in the middle of the night?

  • Predators...... Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


a bit late on the response but I got here eventually! I live on the south coast in the UK & the seagulls here exhibit similar behaviour. As it gets towards evening they start off from their inland roosts & head towards the sea. So my guess is that there is a plentiful food source that comes up to near the surface, or maybe becomes more visible, after sunset.

  • 1
    Some birds that depend on the sea have schedules that depend more on the tides than the sun. +1
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 9 at 17:45

Some gulls migrate in flocks; Franklin gulls, for example, migrate between breeding grounds in Canada to wintering grounds in South America, and would be headed northward in March to arrive at breeding grounds in April. https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/fragul/cur/movement

Most birds migrate at night for smoother flights, to navigate with moon and stars, to avoid overheating, and for better cover from predation. Migrating birds call to each other during migration, presumably to stay together, avoid collisions, and to alert each other of dangers. Birds are cool. https://www.audubon.org/magazine/september-october-2013/listening-migrating-birds-night-may

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