Gulls - Biology & Control
Gulls are generally coastal birds and there are at least 5 species that are common around the UK. Large numbers of birds often move inland particularly in the winter period when the population is increased with birds from the continent.
Often congregate in large numbers sometimes in their thousands on reservoirs and landfill sites.
Their habit of feeding on landfill sites leads to a potential risk of disease transmission. They can be aggressive when nesting on the roofs of buildings, sometimes attacking people. Large accumulation of droppings can also occur along with excessive noise pollution. Gulls are long lived typically 10 years or more with some recorded up to 30 years returning to the same breeding sites every year. Often scavenges and pirates food.
How we control Gulls
Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, under this legislation all wild birds, their eggs and nests are protected. Under this legislation all birds, eggs or nests (when in use or being built) cannot be taken or destroyed or birds killed or taken, except under licence. Individual licences are granted by Natural England to tackle a specific problem, within a specific period of time, in an agreed manner. These applications are assessed on a case by case basis and without a licence it is illegal.
Where birds are roosting on buildings or other structures it is possible to proof these with physical barriers such as installing netting to protect areas. Other methods include dispersal techniques such as the use of playing distress calls with acoustic devices and falconry techniques with the use of trained birds of prey. These methods are used with great success on landfill sites, airports and military air force bases.