Invicta Environmental are experts at advising and supporting our clients with long term strategies for managing Gull populations visiting your sites. Within the UK we have five main species of commonly occurring breeding gulls that can in certain circumstances become problematic when they interact with humans:
|Greater Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)||64-78cm||Black with white tips||Yellow with red spot||Pink|
|Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)||Approx 40cm||Grey Back and Wings||Yellow||Black|
|Common Gull (Larus canus)||40-44cm||Medium grey||Green yellow||Green yellow|
|Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)||55-64cm||Silver grey, black tips plus white spots||Yellow with red spot||Pink|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)||52-64cm||Dark grey with black tips||Yellow with red spot||Yellow|
Lesser Black Backed and Herring Gulls are common gulls within the North East and their presence often leads to complaints during the gull breeding season (April to September) each year when they build their nests on the roofs of houses and businesses within the area rather than on coastal cliffs. The Kittiwake as an example can be seen nesting across the Tyne Bridge, this is this species most inland colony and is really a sight to see and hear in the breeding season!
It’s important to note that all gulls are protected by law. There have been recent changes to licencing that makes any removal of gull nests or eggs illegal, this was introduced following the removal of a number of species from the general licence provision which allowed this activity. All licencing is ran by Natural England in the North East.
The nuisance from gulls lasts mainly from April to September after which the young gulls fly back out to sea, though some choose to remain within our towns all year round.
Invicta’s Bird Control Process
Invicta will attend your site to investigate what species of bird is causing you issues. We will listen and understand exactly what you would like to achieve in controlling the bird issue on site.
We will produce a detailed survey report which will outline what we recommend to keep your site bird free.. Within the report we will include costs to carry out each of our recommendations.
Once works have been agreed with yourself, we will agree a date of attendance convenient with yourself. Risk assessments, Method statements & Training certification will be sent over before we attend site.
Our Fully trained bird control teams will attend site to complete the work agreed. We will then invite the site contact to inspect the work and a detailed report will be emailed over to show that all works have now been completed.
Tackling the issues of their presence
There are some facts that producing a good gull management strategy has to take into account. It takes four years for a gull to reach maturity and breed with many returning to the nest where they were born, indeed sometimes to the very spot on a roof that they hatched! They also live a long time, some gulls living 30 years or more! Gulls like to nest in colonies and once a pair gains a foothold on a building then others will follow. If they breed successfully, they will return year on year, and this can compound the issues you already have so taking a long-term view is key to managing issues whilst ensuring you take in to account the species and their existence in the natural world.
Should you have a problem of nuisance gulls you must look closely at how you can prevent them using your property, what methods you can use and the timing of the intervention. Control measures need to be kept up for several years to be effective if proofing is unavailable. The key to reducing gull numbers lies in reducing the attractiveness of your site to the gulls by removing nesting opportunities before they nest and to remove or limiting the supply of food.
Gulls pair and mate for life unless they fail to rear chicks whereby they will seek a new mate. Action needs to be considered early in the year as once the chicks have hatched it is too late to take action .
Although gulls are protected by law, this doesn’t mean that there is nothing that can be done when such problems arise. Where gulls are causing or anticipated to cause an issue, it is important to be proactive by acting quickly to minimise the risk posed and to reduce the likelihood of it becoming a long-term problem.
The Law regarding Gulls
All wild birds, including gulls, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This makes it an offence to destroy gull nests which are in use or being built, take or destroy gull eggs, or take or kill and adult or chick.
Although it may seem like gull populations are doing well due to a concentrated presence in urban areas there is much evidence of number reducing through climate change and over fishing, this is also of course the reason gulls prefer Greggs pasties and McDonalds chips to feeding on small fish in the ocean.
Environmental Health have no statutory duties or powers to act against gulls. Only an owner or occupier can act against gulls nesting on buildings, but owners/occupiers can give someone else permission to act of their behalf. Invicta are experts at partnering with customers in supporting your goals for your property
The use of poisons to take or kill any bird is specifically prohibited. With any gull management plan proofing should be the first line of defence and any measure should not cause suffering. All businesses and individuals have an obligation to look after our environment.
How Invicta can help
Invicta can complete a full site survey and put in place a management plan for the gull population on your site. This can include risk assessments for building, proofing plans for netting installation and we can support licence applications to Natural England.
Our expert surveyors can support you through this process, Simply give us a call for a free survey.