In Defence of the Seagull

Posted by 1 year ago | Permalink | Comments (16)

Seagulls have been in the news recently after David Cameron claimed a “big conversation” is needed because of some reports of aggressive behaviour by these birds in Cornwall.

Seagulls are intelligent birds

We’ve just written to local councils in Cornwall and Devon, offering them advice and urging them to stick to humane methods to keep their bird population under control. After all, gulls are intelligent, sensitive birds who, like all wild animals, just want to feed themselves, find somewhere safe to live and protect their young.

Gulls are resourceful in adapting to new situations and learning new types of behaviour, such as breaking open hard-shelled molluscs by dropping them onto rocks. They also mate for life and are devoted parents. And across the country as a whole, their numbers are dwindling. They don’t deserve to be demonised.

Seagull and chick

Sometimes, living peacefully alongside gulls may require some form of bird control in urban areas. By far the most effective measures over the long term are the implementation of deterrents and the curtailing of food sources.

These are some of the humane solutions we’ve been suggesting to town councils:

  • “Flock Off!” paint can be painted onto lamp posts in areas which you’d prefer to keep gull-free. The paint reflects the sun’s rays, making it difficult for the birds to see and thus deterring them from swooping down or trying to land.
  • Bird slides or coils are an easy, low-cost way to discourage gulls from nesting on ledges.
  • If birds have begun to roost somewhere particularly inappropriate, a green laser can be used to encourage them to find an alternative spot.

Given the decline in gull numbers across the country and the numerous hazards that they face because of human activities, kind people should be helping them, not planning to wipe them out. Gulls can get hurt when they collide with buildings and traffic, get their beaks caught in fishing hooks or choke on pieces of plastic, and they are sometimes even deliberately attacked by callous individuals.

Here’s what to do if you find an injured seagull:

  • Phone the RSPCA in England and Wales (0300 1234 999), the SSPCA in Scotland (03000 999 999) or the USPCA in Northern Ireland (028 3025 1000). They will often be able to send someone to collect the bird within an hour. If you have a car, you could also drive the bird to your nearest centre yourself. Some local wildlife sanctuaries can also help with the rescue of injured birds.
  • If it’s safe to do so, try to contain the gull. Prepare a cardboard box by lining it with newspaper or a towel and making sure that it’s well ventilated with plenty of air holes.
  • Gently place a soft towel over the bird’s head before carefully lifting him or her into the box to protect yourself from pecks. Frightened animals can often lash out, so make sure you keep your face well away from the bird’s beak.
  • Darkness will help reduce the bird’s stress, so try to cover the top of the box once the bird is inside.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the bird.

Given the many humane solutions to perceived problems with gulls, it’s easy to keep the peace with these iconic seaside birds. Please speak out in favour of humane gull-management programmes in your community, and don’t hesitate to help birds in distress.

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Comments

  • Jeaneen Andretta commented on July 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    All animals and their lives are precious and all actions to save them should be done. Killing is the solution of uncaring, greedy people.

  • Jacqueline Mckay commented on August 1, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I BELIEVE THAT SEAGULLS, ESPECIALLY URBAN GULLS LIKE HERRING GULLS AND LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS ARE GROWING BIGGER AND BECOMING MORE AGGRESSIVE BECAUSE THEY ARE EATING JUNK FOOD THAT PEOPLE THROW AWAY. THIS JUNK FOOD IS FULL OF GROWN HORMONES AND CHEMICALS THAT ARE COMING FROM FOOD LIKE CHICKEN AND MEAT WHICH ARE FACTORY FARMED TO GROW AT 3-4 TIMES FASTER THAN NORMAL USING UNNATURAL METHODS. IT IS THEREFORE NOT THERE FAULT, BUT HUMAN INTERFERENCE (YET AGAIN!!). GULLS ARE NATURAL SCAVENGERS. THEY PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN KEEPING DISEASES, FLIES, RATS UNDER CONTROL. THEY ARE WELL MISUNDERSTOOD BY PEOPLE AND DO NOT DESERVE TO BE DEMONISED AND PERSECUTED.

    GULLS HAVE LIVED AT SEA AND INLAND THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE WE URBANISED THE LAND. WE HAVE DESTROYED MOST OF THEIR NATURAL FOOD, LIKE FISH BY POLLUTING THE SEAS. WE MUST LIVE PEACEFULLY WITH THEM AS THIS IS THEIR HOME ALSO.

  • Virginia Marshall commented on August 1, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    .

  • B Horner commented on August 1, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Love Gulls , what people don’t realise they’ve had to move more in land due to their habitat eroding , thanks for the advice , appreciate it .

  • Barbara pimlott commented on August 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    How is it that the traditional sight and sound of the seaside…namely seagulls is no longer acceptable.What a dead world we will have when we have rid ourselves of all that gives our lives it’s true character

  • Valerie commented on August 1, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Stop the violence against animals. Be part of the solution, (growing in population daily) not part of the problem.

  • Valerie Blankhart commented on August 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    I have two Seagulls who visit daily and they are the most ‘friendly’ social wild birds you could meet. They have been with me now for 5 years. I did in fact help raise two of their young, one in 2013 and the other in 2014, the parents were literally within inches of me and they seemed grateful for my help. Now they stand at my feet while I prepare their meal-they make no attempt to steal the food until I tell them it is ok to do so. Birds are the same as humans in that all they want is to be fed/watered, somewhere to rest and to be left alone to bring up their family.

  • Shirley commented on August 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    A seagull snatched a chip from my husband’s mouth as he was eating ,cutting his lip .Now he hates them.However I like to hear them ,and see them above the fields ,just glad it was not our little grandson .After the incident we moved to another spot but the gulls followed us until we had to give them our chips to get rid of them!

  • sally carnes commented on August 1, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Hate the way people are gunning for seagulls or indeed any animal. Have they forgotten it is their planet too and they do a great deal less damage to it than humans?

  • Heather Woolley commented on August 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    They are the most wonderful bird’s. Here in Cornwall I love the young chick’s and their whistling call to their mother’s.I love the mother’s fierce protection of the chick’s. They are a part of the seaside and only take food as learned behaviour from people who fed them in the past. Can’t count how many in the last couple of week’s that have been lifted off the street and put back in their nest sites.Please respect and love them. They carry the souls of fishermen and sailors!

  • annette Hof commented on August 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Please save the seagull, they deserve a good life and be free and fly free

  • paul duncan commented on August 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    stop bulling nature and get over yourself people

  • Jennifer Lane commented on August 1, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    It’s a bit rich living at the seaside and then complaining about the seagulls!

  • Margaret boyle commented on August 2, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Help them!!

  • corbisiero josiane commented on August 2, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    J’aime les animaux tous les animaux

  • Julie McLean commented on August 3, 2015 at 4:50 am

    I love seagulls. They need protection.

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