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Some birds carry potentially infectious diseases.  

Feeding pigeons and gulls can be harmful as it makes them dependent on people and gulls can be very aggressive. 

Regular feeding results in increasing numbers which may upset the natural balance and adversely affect smaller or rarer birds. The council has no legal duty to control gulls.

The sight of bird mess on buildings spoils the look of an area and the acid content of their droppings can eat away at soft stone and cause long term damage. They can also be slippery and cause safety hazards.

If you want to feed small birds in your garden, please use a proper bird feeder containing nuts and other natural foods, and make sure spillages are cleaned up so that it doesn't attract rats or mice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything that can be done about the noise seagulls make?

There is very little that can be done to prevent seagulls from causing a nuisance through the noise they can make. Proofing a building or structure can deter the birds from roosting or nesting and this can cause birds to search for another suitable place to roost or set up a nest. Where birds have settled on an adjacent building and are causing problems you should speak to the owner or occupier of the building.

What can be done about fouling?

Again, other than proofing premises against landing birds there is very little that can be done.

What can be done about gulls that swoop on people and try to attack them?

Gulls will often try to snatch food from people, especially when people are dining outside or walking along the street eating and this can be very frightening. However, when gulls are rearing young chicks they can become quite aggressive and will attack anyone whom they consider a threat to their offspring. Legally, the owner or occupier of the building on which the chicks are being reared will have responsibility for the birds and it is possible that a civil action could be taken against that person because they have not taken reasonable action to resolve the problem. Where birds are actually attacking people and it is considered that the birds are a threat to the health and safety of the public it is possible that a 'general license' will be granted by Natural England to a competent pest control professional, acting on behalf of the owner or occupier of a building. However, all other non-lethal methods of control must have been considered before a license is granted.

What can I do about seagulls nesting on my property?

Gulls are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. 

Proofing is the only available method for deterring gulls from using a building as a nesting or roosting site and proofing can involve:

  • Netting.This is used to protect the face of a building, the spaces between a sloping roof and a light-well etc.
  • Post and wire systems.These consist of metal wire or nylon filament and are used in a 'criss-cross' pattern to cover a flat roof and ridges to deter gulls from alighting or roosting.
  • Spike systems.Pre-fabricated plastic or stainless steel tines which are spaced along a strip of material and protrude vertically to deter birds from alighting or roosting. This method is perfect for proofing rain hoppers, small parapets, window sills, chimney stacks and rows of ridge tiles.
  • Electric systems.This is a fairly new concept which involves laying lines of insulated copper strips that conduct a small electrical charge which gives alighting birds a 'jolt' and causes them to fly off.

Is it illegal to feed seagulls?

It is not illegal to feed seagulls. However, doing so will encourage birds to remain in the area and cause problems for other residents, businesses and members of the public. More importantly, bird feeding encourages other pests like rats, mice and foxes.

What can be done about seagulls ripping open refuse sacks?

Gulls now associate plastic refuse sacks with food and they will easily rip open sacks and spill the contents around the area, often attracting rats and mice. Household waste should only be put out the evening before collection, but preferably before 6:00am on collection day, and should be stored in a dustbin with a securely fitting lid.

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