More than 1,000 black-tailed gulls are warming their eggs in a vacant space near the coast of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, which was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
According to residents living in the area, flocks of gulls showed up and began laying eggs last year after the March 11 tsunami swept away most of the buildings and infrastructure.
An official at the Marinepia Matsushima Aquarium in the same prefecture said black-tailed gulls (Larus crassirostris) usually build their nests on islands, but they have no trouble doing so in other areas if those places are large and far from human activity.
At the vacant site in Kesennuma, each nest typically has two or three light brown eggs. If approached by a human, the gulls scramble and warn the invaders with a meowing cat-like call, which gives the species its Japanese name "Umineko" (Sea cat).
During the previous nesting season, a large amount of rubble still remained, making borders between roads and a destroyed factory's grounds there unclear. This year, recovery work has progressed slowly.
“Vehicles get dirty with droppings, but we let it go because that never ends," said a 46-year-old man working in the area.
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