Gulls have long been an endearing aspect of a visit to the seaside for many of us. However, over time, the birds have become comfortable living, nesting and breeding around people, particularly when they are being fed. Combine that with the increasing scarcity of coastal food supplies and abundant sources of waste food inland and this can create a serious nuisance gull problem in our urban areas.
Gulls are now often found in built-up towns and cities. They nest and breed high on flat surfaces such as roofs or wide ledges, where they are safe from predators. This can cause numerous problems and hazards for people and businesses. If you own, operate or manage commercial premises, it’s important to know that gulls can be noisy, aggressive and temperamental, particularly if they have young around. In addition, gull faeces and droppings can cause expensive damage to gutters, pipes, tiles and other parts of your building.
Like many wild bird species, gull breeding typically takes place in springtime. Male and female gulls often mate for life and often live in the same place for many years. Nest building begins in early May – a time when it’s advisable to keep an eye out for gull colonies that may be forming or migrating in your area.
Although there are no strict patterns, eggs are usually laid at the beginning of May, consisting of about three chicks that hatch after three weeks. The young are usually spotted throughout June, with gulls raising them until the end of July.
While gulls are feeding their offspring and throughout the fledgling season, the birds can be territorial and act aggressively towards people who get too close. Behaviour includes so-called ‘dive bombing’ as a deterrent or swooping close to ground level. Mostly, these are just warnings to humans to steer clear of nests and young birds, but you must take action or preventative measures to discourage them if you have regular visitors, employees or customers at your business premises.
Groups and colonies of gulls vary in size. In some developed urban areas you can find thousands of birds co-habiting and in other areas there can be just a few.
Gulls, dependant of species, can live for up to 20 years and like to remain in areas or nesting sites that they know. So once you have a small number of gulls living on your building, the problem is likely to escalate when they breed.
Although gulls are not legally considered a pest, they must be handled or removed by a licensed pest removal company like Safeguard. The birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone does not follow this legislation is at risk of being prosecuted. There are a number of preventative measures you can take at your property or business to deter gulls, such as nets, spikes and spring wire systems.
Contact Safeguard or phone 0800 328 4931 if you would like to discuss the safe prevention or removal of gulls on your site.