I would like to ask for the removal of legal protection from just two species of gulls – herring gulls and black-backed gulls. These large, very noisy, extremely aggressive birds are increasing in  numbers in our coastal towns, thriving on the food they obtain from our messy throw-away culture and from visitors who mistakenly feed them. The particular problems with this situation are 1) that they have no fear of humans and at every opportunity will steal food directly from your hand or your plate and 2) they are no longer content to nest on cliffs but invade every available flat roof near the sea.

I believe we have tolerated this nuisance for too long. It is far too late to change the birds' new habits; you cannot re-educate a wild bird population. It is impossible at the moment to stop people from leaving food for them, and certainly out of the question to expect holiday-makers to eat all their picnics and ice-creams indoors. We need a review of current wildlife legislation to re-categorise common gulls, remove their legal protection, and instead protect the human victims of their noise and increasingly aggressive behaviour.

Why is this idea important?

We really need now to protect two groups in particular who suffer seriously from the invasive and aggressive activity of these gulls. Firstly the toddlers, who are terrified and even endangered by the huge birds bombarding them for their snacks and ice-creams (it is just as traumatic for an adult). Secondly, seaside householders who are not allowed as the law presently stands to instruct the local council to remove and destroy nests and eggs, nor to take any other action to relieve themselves from the constant screaming and stamping about overhead except try to find the hundreds of pounds needed to buy unsightly netting or spikes in a vain attempt to keep the birds off the roof.

And it is a vain attempt – gulls habitually bite and tear at any obstruction, eventually dismantling the expensive 'protection' and turning it into an upmarket gulls' nest. I have also seen a fledging gull ripping away the waterproofing seal from an outhouse, letting in the driving rain.

Herring gulls are to my mind at  least as great a danger, expense and nuisance to us as rats. We rid ourselves of our cute whiskery rodents without compunction. Please may we extend a similar lack of sentimentality now to the common herring gull.

4 Replies to “Remove legal protection from herring gulls”

  1. Absolutely agree Herring Gulls are rats on wings,there may be a decline on the coasts but when you go into housing estates there are no shortages.
    Would like to see action groups supporting each other against Gulls, especially the Herring Gull.

  2. There has been a population explosion in the Herring (and similar) Gull since the date of the last Survey in 2000. They are not endangered but have become a threat to other wildlife and public health. Numbers have doubled in London since 2005 to 20,000 pairsand have risen by over 46% in Wales. Not a single local goverment is reporting lower numbers whether on the coast or inland. They are growing everywhere they are a natural bird and everywhere is having the same problems as we are. Scotland has begun a cullon the grounds of public health and England needs to do the same.

  3. In Dorchester herring gulls have become a serious pest – the horrendous noise they make starting 4 am
    combined with walking on the roof; the mess they make on the roof, on our cars, windows and garden path ( missing us at times by a small margin ), and disloging bits from our roofs ( twice shattering my neighbours conservatory roof ); and the din they make in the town center. I love birds, but these are a real problem, and some action desparately needs to be taken to limit their growing numbers.

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