Shire residents urged to “claim back” streets from seagulls

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Shire councillors are urging residents of coastal towns to take pre-emptive action against seagulls and “claim their streets back from the birds”

Last year the council spent £23,500 on removal and deterrents but hopes that residents can pro-actively put measures in place to stop seagulls overtaking their towns as we edge closer to breeding season.

Stephen Smith, Infrastructure Services Committee Vice Chair, said: “The council carries out a range of work in communities and on its own properties, which is a great start, but this work alone will not eradicate the issue of nuisance or aggressive gulls in our communities and we need other building owners and private individuals to contribute to the effort.

“We regularly receive complaints about gulls in our towns and villages, whether that relates to the noise they make, attacks on humans and pets or simply mess from their droppings, but people can start to claim their streets back from the birds.”

Aberdeenshire Council have said that a range of measures are available to deter the gulls including roof-mounted spikes or nets to stop landing and nesting, or even the use of a gel which makes birds think a surface is on fire.

The council takes action at many of its own properties, including schools and public buildings, where there is a need for it.

It has also employed falconers at some premises and in the town centres of Stonehaven, Peterhead and Fraserburgh to fly hawks, which puts birds off settling in an area due to the presence of a predator.

David Aitchison, chairman of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “The council does not advocate the killing of gulls and their young, and so the focus at the moment is on deterrents, preventative measures and on nest and egg removal.

“All of this should have a long-lasting effect on the local gull population, but only if communities work together – this is not solely the council’s responsibility and we all need to share a common goal of reducing the nuisance caused.”

In 2015 Aberdeenshire Council spent around £12,000 on nest and egg removal at a total of 104 education, social work, roads and corporate buildings.

It also spent around £11,500 on the flying of hawks at offices and primary and secondary schools to deter nesting and attacks.