Wyre Council

Advice on dealing with herring gulls

Published on Thursday 22nd April 2010

With the annual invasion of breeding seagulls almost upon us, Wyre Borough Council is issuing some timely advice on how to reduce problems that the birds can cause.

Although they can be a nuisance, herring gulls are a natural part of the coastal environment. Overall numbers have been declining but at the same time more have begun to nest in towns and villages and they are now listed as being of conservation concern.

Breeding season is usually from April to June, which is when the problems can start for some residents, particularly in seafront areas of Fleetwood and Cleveleys.

Kevin Wilson, Environmental Health Technician for Wyre Borough Council, said: "It's important for people to realise that councils have no legal powers or responsibilities to control gulls. Many people call for them to be shot, but this is dangerous in urban areas and will only result in another bird moving in to take its place.

"The most effective way to deter gulls is to fix spikes to the ledges, flat surfaces and chimneys of buildings to prevent them perching or nesting in the first place. These can be purchased from the council.

"As the gulls will often raid refuse bags for food, residents can also help by keeping these in sheds or bins until the day of collection. Similarly, avoid leaving food lying around.

"There are a few myths to dispel, too. The risk to human health from gulls is very small, although remember to wash your hands after being areas that may have been fouled by gulls, as you would do with any animal.

"And when gulls appear to dive bomb, they are driving away threats to the nest rather than launching an attack. They don't usually make physical contact."

More information about herring gulls and their habits is available online at www.wyrebc.gov.uk/Find/Herring_Gulls. For details on purchasing spikes, contact 01253 891000.

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