Seagulls running rings around beleaguered Scots football club

Queen of the South say tackling the problem of seagulls is a near impossible task. Picture: John Devlin
Queen of the South say tackling the problem of seagulls is a near impossible task. Picture: John Devlin
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Wanted: a star signing with hawkish instincts and excellent aerial skills, who is able to fend off attackers and keep a clean sheet - and for that, matter, a clean stadium.

A Scottish football club has appealed for the patience of its supporters as its seeks to rid its ground of scavenging seagulls.

Queen of the South, who play in the Scottish Championship, say the birds are fouling on the seating areas at their Palmerston Park home and roosting on its pitch.

Having fielded several complaints in the wake of their home defeat to Motherwell at the weekend, the Dumfries club admits it is “well aware of the issues,” but warned that stopping the seagulls has so far proven to be “pretty much an impossible task.”

Kevin McCormick, the club’s long suffering groundsman, was one of several staff members who stayed at the ground as late as 11.30pm the evening before Saturday’s Scottish League Cup tie in hope of keeping the gulls off the pitch.

The club has also attempted broadcasting bird of prey calls through its sound system, as well as flying bird of prey kites above the stands in the hope of scaring the gulls away. But, as the club has since conceded, “they eventually get wise and come back.”

With the club’s staff “horribly stretched” over the past week due to the early start to the season, a time when many people are on holiday and the reserve squad have yet to report back for duty, the gulls have encountered only minimal opposition.

In a statement, the club said: “It is very disheartening for everyone as many people gave up their time on 30 June to come in to help with the Palmerston tidy up, which involved the cleaning of seats.

“Unfortunately with the number of seagulls that have taken up residency, the hard work carried out that day has been undone.”

“With the games starting early the club has been horribly stretched in the last week or so. We have had kit and tickets to print as well as covering the office and shop as well as getting a game with a decent sized crowd on.”

The club has asked supporters to play their part by using the litter bins around the stadium so as to deny them a readily available food source.

It added: “Hopefully it will not be too long before the seagulls move on. We will continue to pursue other ways to deter them.”

Gulls have proved to be a persistent problem in the Dumfries area of late, prompting the local authority to collate data on the location of gull nests and incidents in the town. It also provides a free egg and nest removal service to all properties.

Queen of the South is not the only club to have fallen foul of a gull problem in recent years.

Four years ago, Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen enlisted the help of George Duguid, an Ellon-based falconry expert, who flew falcons around Pittodrie stadium to keep the gulls at bay on matchdays.