On Brier Island in eastern Canada, ditching of Big Meadow Bog resulted in predictable shifts in the plant community as shrubs and trees proliferated across the drained landscape. The attraction of nesting gulls to the ditched bog and their daily foraging at distant mink farms was not predictable. To better understand the impacts of the nesting gulls, we performed a retrospective analysis of plant community disruption and recovery succession. Areas of gull-bared peat within Big Meadow Bog were colonized in succession by exotic grasses (e.g. Holcus lanatus) and annuals; raspberry (Rubus spp.) canes and biotically-dispersed Rosaceae shrubs; and wind-dispersed Ericaceae, fern, and tree species. There was no evidence of a persisting bog-species seedbank in the soil to aid post-gull revegetation, nor was there evidence of an exotic-weed seedbank to interfere with plant-community regeneration. The exotic-weed seedbank (6 thousand seeds m⁻²) declined to zero after 33 years (half-life = 3.6 years). In contrast, a secondary, native (mainly Juncus spp.) seedbank of similar magnitude, persisted. The recovered plant communities had swamp features (i.e., trees, ferns, tall shrubs). Whether or not Big Meadow Bog regains ombrotrophy will depend upon whether blocked ditches and reinstated water tables deter nesting gulls.