Action to control gull population continues during lockdown
With the peak gull nesting season now upon us, action is being taken in Worcester to deter the birds from nesting on residential and business rooftops.
Hawks and falcons have been deployed to make daily two-hour flights round Britannia Square, near Worcester's city centre, with the aim of putting off gulls from nesting there.The flights, which are managed by contractor Pest Free Solutions, began at the end of March and will continue in to early May.The cost of the exercise is being shared between Worcester City Council and the Britannia Square Residents' Association.
"The hawks and falcons have definitely deterred new gulls from establishing nests in the Square – although there are still three nesting pairs from last year which stubbornly remain there," explains Worcestershire Regulatory Services' gull officer, Gordon Dugan.
"In May we will be replacing real eggs with plastic ones at these sites, and others at the Moors and the K2 office complex on The Tything."
Contractors will use a mobile elevating work platform to reach the nests, which are often extremely difficult to access.
Another tactic being employed in Worcester is the use of acoustic devices that emit recorded gull distress calls through a megaphone.Devices are currently being trialled by residents in Lower Wick and Britannia Square.
One Lower Wick resident has reported that the gulls take to the air as soon as the device is sounded.They also report that the Thursday night claps and cheers for the NHS are having the same effect!
"It's fantastic to see some new and innovative tactics being used in our bid to discourage gulls from nesting in Worcester," says Cllr Joy Squires, Chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee.
"While we continue to stay at home, less food and refuse is being discarded in the city centre, which will significantly reduce the gulls' food supply. We also know that an increased human presence discourages gulls from nesting on sites, so the lockdown does give residents a big opportunity to really make their presence known to potential nesters.
"I'd also encourage Worcester residents to keep on clapping and cheering in support of key workers.Not only is it helping to raise morale, but it appears to be helping to keep our gull population at bay too!"
On 29 April ornithologist Peter Rock will began a three-day count of Worcester's gull population so that changes in the birds' numbers and characteristics can be accurately assessed in the future.
The City Council is investing £30,000 in the 2020/21 financial year to help businesses and residents deter gulls from nesting on properties.
Deterring Gulls – things we can all do
- Feed the bins, not the gulls – dispose of your waste food carefully and responsibly, when you're at home or out and about
- Ensure waste food is wrapped up before putting it in a litter bin or your home wheelie bin
- Don't leave waste food hanging out of a bin
- Never drop your waste food on the ground
- Don't overfill your bin so the lid can't close properly
- Don't feed birds in parks, open spaces or on the street
- If gulls nest on your home or building consider action to stop them – spikes, nets and wires can all be effective
- At the end of the nesting season (usually September), if gulls have been using your home or building, remove all nests and nesting materials. This can discourage them from coming back the next year
- If you find an injured chick, please contact the RSPCA
For further information, go to www.worcester.gov.uk/gulls