Falconer comes hawking back to give gulls the bird

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Residents in three Aberdeenshire towns will once again be able to savour their sandwiches in peace as hawks patrol the skies in anticipation of the gull nesting season.

Aberdeenshire Council has called on its contractor NBC Bird and Pest Solutions to visit Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Stonehaven to deter breeding gulls from settling on properties.

The nesting period typically begins in April and the council is leading by example and encouraging its communities to take action now to reduce the long-term effects of nuisance gulls.

It is illegal to kill gulls and their young but nests and eggs can be removed before they hatch.

Special rates have been negotiated for all local home and business owners who wish to have anti-nesting devices installed on their properties.

The principle deterrent methods include fitting long spikes to places like chimney stacks, fitting wires or nets to prevent gulls landing and the disturbance of nesting sites, including removal of nests and eggs.

Head of Protective Services and Waste Management, Ian Robertson, explains: “There is no quick fix for dealing with nuisance gulls but the home treatments that can be installed are effective and provide a long-term deterrent against the birds.

“As a building owner, the council is leading the way in assessing its buildings and will be undertaking nest and egg removal from them.

“The council has also produced 2,000 copies of our Seagull Survivor’s Guide with full details of how the public can deal with nuisance gulls.

“If you would like Pro-Check Environmental Services to install anti-nesting devices or undertake nest removal, please telephone (0844) 800 6484.”

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Environmental Health Manager, Dave Cooper, said: “Even if you’re not a homeowner, if you are just visiting the seaside for spring day out, please do not feed the gulls.

“Everyone has a role to play in ensuring gulls don’t have an easy food source or can nest on our towns’ buildings.”

10 complaints were received by Aberdeenshire Council’s Environmental Health Service between 1 Jan 2015 and 28 Feb 2015.