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Seagulls are common. I live on the shore of New Jersey (U.S.), but I have never seen a seagull nest. Where are they?

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  • $\begingroup$ Seagulls in urban areas tend to build their nests on rooftops instead of ground nesting. I'm not sure if that's New Jersey's case. I've also seen gulls' nests in sea cliffs but the area wasn't as populated as New Jersey. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2019 at 14:13

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Breeding season

Chances to see nests will be higher during breeding season which normally occurs once a year. Eggs will be laid in early May but they will be built in the previous months.

Area

In densely populated urban areas gulls may build their nests on rooftops instead of ground nesting. In the case of New Jersey I found the following brochure:

https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/bnb_brochure.pdf

If you mean seagulls as in all Laridae, then you have two members of that family (black skimmer and least tern) in that brochure that actually use NJ's beaches and even have their own designated space for that.

Googling 'seagull rooftop nests' brings a decent amount of pictures of rooftop nests. 'Seagull nests' brings a lot of cliff-placed nests, rooftop and ground nests. I assume the choice depends mostly on food availability and predator population density. I remember in Spain a few years ago there was a big enough problem to appear on local TV news related to seagulls attacking people. They would nest on every roof and attack people that would go out on the balcony with a sandwich.


Sources:

  • Habitat Selection and Nesting Biology of Roof-Nesting Glaucous-Winged Gulls Kees Vermeer, Damian Power and G. E. John Smith Colonial Waterbirds Vol. 11, No. 2 (1988), pp. 189-201 https://www.jstor.org/stable/1521000?seq=1
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