Defence of gulls

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Whenever wild animals or birds trouble us humans, there follow the inevitable cries of “cull them”. Every summer millions of people flock to the coast where many gulls live.

Despite warning notices, some visitors insist on feeding them, while others seem to find it impossible to place their leftovers in a bin.

The holiday period coincides with the birds’ breeding season and, being fierce defenders of their offspring, the birds will occasionally be aggressive – for a few weeks a year – to those they consider too close to their nests or young.

The fact is, there are simple, inexpensive and non-lethal methods that can be used to deter birds from nesting on flat roofs or chimneys, or from rummaging in our rubbish – we have free factsheets available on deterring gulls and a number of other species.

Otherwise, we should show tolerance through the breeding season, not least because they are just being good parents, and six of the seven gull species are in decline.

Numbers of coastal gull species are dropping partly because we humans are stealing their fish. It would be a shame if we slaughtered them because they steal a few of our chips!

John Bryant

Animal Aid

Tonbridge, Kent