Are seagulls protected by law?
Yes. Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to kill or injure any birds or their nests or eggs, unless acting under a licence and only in compliance with the conditions of that licence.
How do I get a licence?
General Licences are issued annually, see the link below for GL05:
For some general information about general licences:
For general information about wildlife licensing and contact details for Natural England
Anyone acting under the terms of a General Licence (there are several but the one relevant to those wishing to remove eggs or nests, or use imitation eggs for herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls in urban areas is GL05) needs to have read and understood the full text of the licence before taking action and be able to demonstrate, if called upon to do so, that their actions comply with the law (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)). Ignorance or misunderstanding of the law when taking action under a General Licence that otherwise would be illegal is not a legitimate defense.
Please note that the General Licence GL05 permits lethal control (removal/destruction) of nests, eggs, chicks and adults of lesser black-backed gulls, and nests and eggs of herring gulls (which would include replacing eggs with imitation eggs) only where this is deemed necessary to preserve public health and public safety. The General Licence cannot be used to justify removal of nests and eggs because people find them annoying or the birds are causing damage to property. In those cases, people need to apply direct to Natural England for a specific licence.
Should a pest control company have a licence?
Yes always ask to be shown the licence or a copy of it. Without it offenders could be prosecuted.
Once a nest is removed, should the area be proofed against nest building in future years?
Ideally, yes. Gulls will return, year after year, to the exact same spot to build their nest so it is advisable to proof the area. When you consider that seagulls can live for up to 30 years, proofing is less expensive than having a nest removed year after year.
Why replace their eggs with imitation plastic dummy eggs instead of just removing the real eggs?
Unfortunately it's not that simple. If you take away gulls eggs they will just lay new clutches throughout the breeding season.
Why are urban gull numbers increasing?
There are many reasons including: - readily available food sources 24/7 in towns/cities, no natural predators, favourable living conditions - warmer, sheltered areas - compared to the countryside, urban areas retain heat and are a few degrees warmer then the surrounding areas.
What do you call a group of seagulls?
Birds in general are referred to as a flight (in the air) and a flock (on the ground). Seagulls however, when they are on the ground are referred to as a “colony”.
Do seagulls fly in a “V” formation like geese?
Yes, seagulls do indeed fly in V formations, although typically, only when migrating. They usually fly in large flocks, but never in formation.
Why do seagulls gather high in the air and fly in circles?
Gulls like to float on the air currents so that they can exert as little energy as possible. They will find an updraft, and stay with it. Seagull vision is very good and they can see fish below the water even at high altitudes. Sometimes they circle at high altitudes while they wait for a school of fish to come close to the surface where they are easy to catch.
How fast do gulls fly?
According to a Stanford research team who investigated how fast birds in general fly; “For example, a gull whose most efficient loiter airspeed was 22 mph (35 kph) could fly at anything between 15 and 28 mph (24 and 45 kph) without increasing its metabolic rate more than 15 percent.”
Why do seagulls often stand on one leg?
Almost all species of birds will stand on one leg, especially when they are resting. Bird's legs have a unique system of blood veins in their legs called “rete mirabile” (pronounced ree-tee mee-rah-bi-lay) that minimizes heat loss. The arteries that transport the warm blood from the heart into the legs lie in direct contact with the veins that return colder blood back to the bird's heart. The warm blood in the arteries therefore warms the cooler blood in the veins. By standing on one leg, and pulling the other leg up against the warmth of its body, a bird can reduce by up to half, the amount of heat lost through its legs. In short, they stand on one leg to warm up a little bit.
What do seagulls eat?
In short, just about anything. The long answer is: small fish, Crustacea, snails and marine worms. They also like to eat insects, spiders, small eggs, and small berries. Large gulls, such as the Glaucous-Winged Gull of the Pacific Northwest, will eat small birds, small mammals, and invertebrates. They also enjoy eating the refuse from dumps and dust bins.
Where do seagulls sleep?
Seagulls sleep in a place that they feel is safe, like a rocky cliff, or shoreline where there is no human activity. They like to bed down for the night in an area where they will not be disturbed. If they need to sleep out in the open, such as on a pier, or on the shore, they will sleep around other gulls or birds who will warn them of impending danger. They tend to avoid the sleeping area until they are ready to sleep. They are very clever about keeping those areas hidden. They know the areas that humans do not frequent, and that is what they like. A clearing with tall grass, an abandoned building, sand dunes, or rocky (or isolated) shorelines are some of their favourite sleeping places. In towns or cities, they prefer the tops of buildings where they are out of sight from humans.
Why do you never see baby seagulls?
Seagulls are very protective of their new born. New born gulls do not leave the nest (or the immediate area) until they are able to fly and find their own food. Until the new born is able to fly, the parents will feed the new born. The young gulls grow quickly, and by the time they leave the nest, they are almost the size of an adult gull. The best way to distinguish if a gull was born recently is by the colour of its feathers. Almost all new born gulls have brown feathers covering their entire bodies.
Can seagulls drink salt water?
Yes they can. Seagulls have a special pair of glands right above their eyes that are specifically designed to flush the salt from their systems through openings in the bill. This enables the gull to spend days out at sea without needing to come back to shore just to get a drink of fresh water.
Why do seagulls face the same direction when they're on the ground?
When a seagull is on the ground, it likes to face into the wind to provide a quick take off. It takes far less space and time to get airborne if they are already facing into the wind. Seagulls also feel far safer in a flock than being alone when they are on the ground. That is why you usually see them in a group.
Do seagulls see in black and white or colour?
Gulls actually do see in colour. However, they don't see colour the way that humans do. Gulls have more "cones" in their eyes than humans. Humans have 3 types of cones that allow our brains to see 3 primary colours, Red, Green, and Blue. Our brains are able to interpret all the mixing of the colour frequencies that exist around those 3 primary colours. Gulls have 4 cones. The fourth cone allows them to see infra-red colour, something that humans cannot see. When a seagull looks at the sky, it does not see the colour blue like we do, it sees a violet sky. Birds in general see more colours than humans do. We can look at a gull and not be able to tell if it is a male or a female. A gull however, sees more colouring in a male gull, and the difference between male and female is obvious to them.
How intelligent are seagulls?
Determining “intelligence” in a seagull is difficult because we tend to compare everything with human intelligence. We do know that seagulls are very smart and clever. Gulls have been seen standing in a field stomping their feet in order to bring the worms to the surface. That takes both intelligence and the ability to communicate to achieve. They have also learned that in order to crack open clams and molluscs, they needed to drop them from a certain height onto a large hard flat material to crack them open.
How much food do seagulls eat every day?
An adult gull will consume approximately 20% of its body weight every day in food. For example, an adult Herring Gull weighs approximately 2lb 12 oz (44 oz or 1250g). It would need to consume 8.8 oz (250g) of food each day.