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Wildlife: The Urban Gull - population control

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Plastic Eagle Owls Don't Work

So what's to be done about urban gull colonies? Herring gulls live long (20 plus years, the record is 35), travel far and wide, have few predators, mate for life, and have a good breeding success rate. Their numbers are increasing. Putting plastic eagle owls on the roof, as some suggest, is useless, though it is a change to plastic gnomes in the front garden!

Culling is beset with difficulties. Aside from public opposition it creates risk for other animals, if for example poisoning was the chosen method. The best method, I believe, is to sterilise the eggs in the nest. This is done by coating the eggs in mineral oil. The birds continue to sit on the eggs but they don't hatch. Of course, this assumes that the nest is within reach.

If the origin of the urban gull lies in a change of policy in the way we dealt with waste in the 1950s. Another change could dramatically iinfluence the way things develop, and that would be to compost most of our food waste. Cut the food supply and you cut the population.

However, Britain's record on recycling waste is pretty poor, and so I wouldn't expect to see a significant slow down in the urban gull population any time soon.

The urban gull is here to stay.

Seagull Scrum
Queenspark and its pond have become a seagull nursery

The End - for the moment

 

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