The gulls appeared on the Island during what Claire believed to be a migration. She wanted to catch one after noting that they were banded. Desmond believed Charlie would die if he attempted to catch a gull. Desmond convinced Charlie not to help, and then thwarted Claire's attempts to catch one with Jin and Sun. Soon after, Desmond retrieved a gull by himself for Claire. Claire wrote a message which she and Charlie attached to the captured gull. They set it free, hoping the message would be found by the outside world. ("Par Avion")
"To whom it may concern: We are survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. We have survived on this island for 80 days. We were six hours into the flight when the pilot said we were off course and turned back toward Fiji. We hit turbulence and crashed. We've been waiting here all this time--waiting for rescue that has not come. We do not know where we are. We only know you have not found us. We've done our best to live on this island. Some of us have come to accept we may never leave it. Not all of us have survived since the crash. But there is new life, too, and with it, there is hope. We are alive. Please don't give up on us."
- The bird Claire and Desmond handled was an adult Silver Gull (Larus novaehollandiae). Its range comprises of Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. According to ornithological literature it does not migrate outside its year-round range and does not venture far out to sea; however it is listed in Fiji (the last port of the freighter) under the status of "Rare/Accidental." This bird's actual species may be a production oversight. With the expectancy of a single-species flock, it would be reasonable to assume that if the bird in fact was a Silver Gull, the whole flock was.
- Interestingly, the message does not explicitly contradict the official cover story later purported by the Oceanic Six: Neither does it give a number of survivors (Six? Eight? Forty?), nor does it state how many of them exactly died on the island, nor anything else that doesn't outright contradict the tale of the Oceanic Six. The only possible contradiction might be the part about "heading back to Fiji" (Who told them? How did Oceanic Flight 815 end up in the Sunda Trench?).