A campaign is being spearheaded against nuisance gulls in the Highland capital following a series of attacks - including a victim being taken to hospital with facial injuries after a chip was nabbed from their mouth.
• Campaign against seagulls mounted in Highlands amid reports of attacks on the public
• Nuisance gulls also causing damage to buildings and blocking gas flues and gutters
Highland Council said the problems posed by the gulls go far beyond them swooping down on people and pets.
These include droppings on gardens, cars and people, damage to buildings from gulls picking at roofing materials and their nests blocking gutters and gas flues with potentially fatal consequences for building occupants.
Councillor Graham Phillips, chair of the authorities TEC Services committee, said the campaign to raise awareness of gulls in urban areas includes encouraging the public not to leave food out for the birds.
He said: “I’ve seen a gull take a chip right out someone’s mouth as they were eating fish and chips outside at the harbourside. The person suffered a severe gash to their face that required emergency hospital treatment.
“There is no easy answer to the problem however, gulls are very opportunistic scavengers and will take advantage of any food scraps that we humans leave lying around from take-aways or overflowing bins.
“What is still worse is when people deliberately feed them, whether in the street, parks or in their gardens so we are in the process of putting notices on all our public litter bins in appropriate locations requesting people not to feed gulls.
“The council recognises the misery gulls can cause, especially throughout the nesting season.
“As part of our campaign we are particular asking people and local businesses to ensure that litter and other food waste is properly stored in closed bins and asking that everyone be discouraged from feeding gulls either at home or in other open spaces.”