Friday, March 13, 2009

Don’t feed me

The Highland News reports that teachers at Millbank School in Nairn have banned food being consumed outside due to gull attacks on pupils. It is hoped that if there is no food the gulls will go elsewhere.
But as
North Sea fish stocks continue to dwindle is it any surprise that the likes of gulls are attracted to humans for food? We are often happy to feed them titbits and comments in the Gurn have highlighted the problems that the bread crumb brigade can potentially cause for wildlife.
It is however sad that children are unable to eat food outside due to the potential menace of the marauding gulls.
Should we stop eating
their fish for a while or have we made the gulls fast food converts?


Anonymous said...

or perhaps a more practical solution, the numbers as we know of gulls is well on the increase and i dont see why we cant control these menaces with some sort cull, nothing drastic or cruel , but as they do at one Nairn establishment, Someone goes up on the roof with his brollie (for obvious reasons )
and pricks the eggs with a knitting needle, but the parents will still sit on the egg thinking it is live, we must do someone before someone gets injured by these pests !

Graisg said...

For years disucussion of the topic has been a political football between Holyrood and local authorities. It will cost money to do something, especially in the bigger cities like Aberdeen where there are now many thousands of breeding pairs and they even have their own facebook group. Aberdeen Seagulls Are Fucking Huge And Scary!
Action is on the horizon however and the 'Seagull Task Force' will be in action soon with a pilot project in Dumfries. According to a Scottish Government press release last year:

'The formation of a new team to help deal with the nuisance of seagulls has been announced today.

The Seagull Task Force will shortly begin looking at ways in which gulls can be prevented from nesting and how nests can be effectively destroyed.

Action will begin on the ground next spring with Dumfries acting as a pilot.

The team's formation is the first part of definitive action promised by Environment Minister Michael Russell to tackle the growing problem of urban gulls.

Speaking after visiting problem areas in the town of Dumfries, Mr Russell said:

"Seagulls are a menace to Scottish towns and cities. They thrive on litter and their aggressive behaviour towards other birds, pets and even people is increasingly problematic.

"Dumfries has a particular problem with gulls with regular reports of divebombing and litter strewn around the town after a seagull has raided a bin.

"I even read this week about a young paperboy who has had to abandon his deliveries due to constant attacks from the birds.'
You can see the entire report here.

There are some that think that this approach will not work and more research needs to be done. Peter Rock an academic has been researching the issue at Bristol University. He says:
'The biggest mistake of all is to believe that if you stop gulls breeding in one place, they will simply give up. Peter Rock quotes the example of Gloucester, where a “fairly vigorous” programme of egg-oiling in the town centre began in 2004. “In 2005 I noticed a 19% decline in numbers of breeding pairs in the area. But at the same time I found a 50% increase in another part of the town.” In terms of reducing overall numbers, “gull-proofing” a building is useless. Stretch nets over a flat roof, or fix spikes along a roof ridge or around chimney pots, and all that happens is that the birds breed on someone else’s roof instead. This much Peter Rock knows. He knows, too, that the problem is not confined to Britain. From Norway to Portugal, every coastal country along the western seaboard of Europe now has roof-nesting gulls. So have the US, Canada and Australia. '

A lot more of Peter Rocks views and information on the seagull problem are contained in an excellent article about Seagulls in the urban environment which is available on-line on the Sunday Times site and is a good starting point for anyone wishing to debate how we react to those creatures that now very much share our environment in Nairn.

Anonymous said...

Just love some of the comments on the Sunday Times article.

Bird Song

Seagulls used to wheel and circle
About the white cliffs and
Around the craggy shore,
But no more.
Now they hang around
The rotting refuse ground.
Hard bargain birds
Who screech and yell:
Yet we hear not the threat
Nor the tolling of the bell

F. A. Read-Powell

Finella Read-Powell, Eyemouth, Scotland

Why not spray the landfill (the gulls' main foodsource) with something that is poisonous to them or renders them infertile?

Clinton Bell, Barcelona, Spain

in my town theres literally no people left, and all the gulls have all the jobs and they even run the post office. Heck even i'm a gull.

ross, PAISLEY, scotland

Anonymous said...

Does that include all the "Council Jobs"as well.?