MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. -- A few dozen migrating birds are calling a Walmart parking lot in central Pennsylvania home, at least for now. Newswatch 16 spoke with a biologist who says these birds may be sticking around Lycoming County a little longer than normal because of the colder weather up north.
"You usually see them down in the ocean,” said biologist Dan Brauning. "There are gulls that live by the sea and then there are gulls that live inland."
Most people would call them seagulls, but the Pennsylvania Game Commission tells Newswatch 16 the birds in the Walmart parking lot may never live by the sea, so instead they're called ring-billed gulls.
Nearly 100 white puffy squawking birds have landed in the Walmart parking lot in Montoursville where they've found their next free meal.
Rudy Bennage lives in Muncy. He feeds them from time to time.
"Usually every spring when they arrive," said Bennage.
"It's kind of like an attraction. People stop and slow down to look at them,” said Maryanne Reynolds.
"They seem to be able to navigate the traffic and vice-versa," said Bennage.
"Around this time and then they leave. I've never understood why they came,” said Reynolds.
It's why Newswatch 16 went and asked biologist Dan Brauning.
"Every year, ring-billed gulls migrate north from their wintering areas to the south of us. Let's say Chesapeake Bay maybe, on their way to breeding grounds to the north,” said Brauning.
Brauning says people may notice even more gulls in the area soon.
"The cold fronts have held them up here a little bit so the populations are building before they move on," said Brauning.
As for feeding the birds while they're here, Brauning says it's not illegal, but the game commission doesn't recommend doing it.
"Leave them a little distance. Take pictures. Enjoy them. It's God's creation that's landed right in your backyard. Enjoy them."
"I love to see them fly because they are just it's unbelievable,” said Bennage.