The UK’s Growing Seagull Problem
Seagulls are large and aggressive and have always been a nuisance in coastal areas. These scavengers will do anything to find easy food and often flock around dump sites, fishing harbours, piers and beaches. In recent years, they have also begun to make their way inland and can now also be found in urban areas, in city centres, on industrial roof top areas and on domestic roofs. Seagulls tend to flock in large numbers, and their presence can be disturbing and annoying.
Here’s a look at the problems they cause and effective methods to deter them.
Seagulls are the noisiest birds in the UK. Their constant squawking is particularly disturbing. They have 3 predominant calls:
Seagull droppings contain uric acid which has a corrosive effect especially on buildings and monuments. Over time, their droppings can create micro cracks in concrete which weakens and allows in moisture.
Seagulls are particularly attracted to the flat roofs of industrial buildings. Most flat roofs are constructed using tar-based membranes. Seagull droppings eat away at the membrane eventually creating holes and leaks.
Seagull droppings also contain bacteria which carries a number of serious diseases including encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis and toxoplasmosis.
Seagulls like to nest on roofs and chimneys. Nesting debris and feathers block gutters and drains which can lead to structural damage. More alarmingly they like to nest on chimney tops causing blocked chimneys and gas flues which are a fire hazard and can also cause carbon monoxide build-up.
Seagulls are particularly aggressive when protecting their young. Swooping seagulls have always plagued people but in recent times they’ve become even more aggressive and have been known to kill small animals. It’s believed that they’re so accustomed to living alongside human beings that they’ve become more audacious and shooing them away only makes them more aggressive. They fight in large numbers and can attack in a swarm of 20 or more.
As seagulls are protected, culling needs justification, however pest control companies can use proofing methods to deter them and prevent nesting. These include egg replacement, nest removal, spikes, post and wire and netting for larger industrial buildings.
To deter seagulls at home, don’t leave food on bird tables during the summer, cap chimneys with bird guards and keep outdoor areas clean and litter free.
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