There are 2 very important factors to consider regarding the presence of seagulls near households:
- We occupy more and more land everyday, leaving other animals little space to live in. We need to remember that we have to share this space with animals other than the cute, small birds like robins that we are so used to have in our gardens.
- There are just some things that are part of living near the seaside and coastal wildlife such as seagull populations are a big part of it.
A lot of people complain about seagulls being noisy and they can indeed be a bit noisy, especially during late spring and summer when their young regularly call their mothers asking for food. But imagine how seagulls feel about all the noise we make, with hundreds of cars that make a huge noise, or during fireworks!
Seagulls are as noisy as any other bird. The big difference is that seagulls are much more used to humans and tend to live closer to us. This does not make them evil, it is just a normal, natural behaviour.
Having seagulls around ports, in streets in town or around your house is not more harmful to you than having any other animal around and is part of living among nature. Please do your best to tolerate the presence of these birds and you may even learn to enjoy their calls as so many other people do!
What can I do?
If you have a seagull nesting next to your bedroom window (which is probably the worst case scenario and the only one to really interfere with your life), you may wake up with their calls - but so would you if you had a raven’s nest or any other similar sized bird’s nest, next to your window.
If a family of seagulls is already nesting near your window, there is nothing you can do about it other than ignoring the noise during the few months when they are noisier. If this is completely unbearable to you, you can, however, prevent seagulls from coming back next year by making the place they are using at the moment inaccessible to them. This can only be done after the family has left the nest, otherwise you risk destroying a nest in use. If you are planning to do this, please consider contacting RSPB, Scottish SPCA or other local wildlife support organisation in order to get information on what you should do.
Remember: all species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. This makes it illegal to intentionally or, in Scotland, recklessly injure or kill any gull or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. In Scotland, it is also illegal to prevent birds from accessing their nest, and in Northern Ireland, it is illegal to disturb any nesting bird. You can read more about seagulls and the law on RPSB’s website.
You can also remove any sources of food near your house by ensuring that bins are always closed and that you don’t leave food out for them to take away. Please do not stop feeding other birds out of fear that seagulls will eat the food! Seagulls cannot feed from bird feeders that are hanging from a tree because they have nowhere to land on and they are not fond of seeds anyway. They do like suet balls but will be unable to take them away if you keep the balls inside a bird feeder.