Why have seagulls drifted from their natural coastal haunts and moved inland?
Seagull, as the name suggests, are birds that traditionally inhabit coastal areas. But over the last few decades they have become a very common sight inland, particularly in or near major conurbations.
In their quest for food and having learnt that we homo sapiens have a modern habit of eating on the move and disposing (or dropping) street food, they have become ever more expectant, confident and aggressive in areas of dense human population and activity.
And, just as they would follow a fishing boat knowing that “supper’s ready”, they wheel and whirl above inland city centres, large groups of people and urban refuse sites.
The decline of our fishing fleets and the easy pickings on the dumps and streets of inland towns and cities has encouraged seagulls to venture inland to find food and hence migrate their breeding grounds to urban locations.
There are also fewer natural seagull predators lying in wait in urban surroundings, in particular on the rooftops of city buildings.
This combination of an abundant food supply and a safe place to nest and breed has seen the numbers of urban seagulls increase rapidly over recent decades. In fact, as urban numbers increase, the “rural” population, what some may regard as the traditional seagull densities in our resorts, is now in decline.
However, whether they are inhabiting our urban locations or their traditional haunts, seagulls are winged scavengers, and can be very aggressive in their pursuit of sustenance, particularly when they have young to feed. They have been known to swoop on people eating street food and fight to get their prize.
Only this week the Irish public were warned to beware of seagull attacks during the July nesting season amid health fears as infections can spread through droppings. So be careful when clearing up after a “seagull attack”, particularly when cleaning cars and windscreens.
Seagulls have become a common pest in many locations, but a pest that is protected by Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This makes it illegal to intentionally injure or kill any gull or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.
Given that, it would seem that there is nothing to stop the ever-expanding urban gull colonies and the misery they are “dropping” on us. Oh my, just what can we do?
Ersatz Seagull Eggs provide a tried and tested humane method of reducing urban seagull populations. In trialling tests, Gloucester City Council found that using dummy eggs in the nest was twice as effective as the more common method of oiling eggs with paraffin.
The process needs to be managed by a qualified contractor, but by duping nesting seagulls into believing that the dummy eggs are real this can, over time, reduce urban seagull populations which in turn will minimise the disruption and disturbance on people that this inland seagull migration has caused.
The sooner a program is started the sooner the benefits will become evident, the sooner you can eat your chips in peace, and Boris will be troubled no more. (Not about seagulls anyway.)
Call 01453 833388 or see www.urbanseagullcontrol today.