Seagulls kill the dog at that point come back to attack toddler two weeks after the fact." "'Psycho' seagull 'pecked and ripped at' at the student." "British seagulls are turning cannibal and EATING one another." If the newspaper headlines are anything to pass by, gulls are a developing danger to the British population. No longer satisfied with stealing chips from tourists at shoreline towns, the birds are attacking everybody from unsuspecting holidaymakers to small children. What's more, who could forget the grizzly tale of Gizmo the chihuahua, cruelly snatched away by a gull in Devon gone forever – that is, until a furry leg turned up half a month later. It is no big surprise public opinion has against them.
The situation has turned so sour in Worcester that the city council is presently investigating the possibility of a gull cull. The council is thinking about applying for a license to shoot the birds, with one councilor saying it is the best way to stop residents from "needlessly suffering".
Tony Whitehead, a representative for the RSPB, says non-lethal tactics, for example, appropriately enforced bylaws to stop individuals feeding seagulls and preventing organic waste from being left in the road are progressively proportionate ways of managing the issue. “That would reduce a lot of the interactions that lead to calls for them to be killed, which feels a little bit over the top,” he says. “We need to deal with the conflict without demonising the birds.”
The culling license would just be granted as a last resort, however, the council says it has just burned through £30,000 on different strategies over the previous year, including decoy fake eggs that can prompt populace decline as they encourage the birds to incubate them rather than genuine eggs. The council has utilized drones to search out nests and furthermore installed anti-gull bins that cover the waste with metal grilles.
If the council stretches the go-beyond for the cull from Natural England, Whitehead is dubious it would work. To effectively remove gulls from a city like Worcester, year-on-year you would have to take out every single brood of gulls,” he says. “Gull nests aren’t that easy to find, but you would have to find every single one; it’s a massive task."
“Gulls can live for 15-30 years, so if you’re targeting youngsters, which is what is most commonly done, you’re going to have to do it every year for 15 years. Even if you do all that, how are you going to tackle birds coming in from the surrounding area?”
A few experts have proposed that not exclusively would the cull be ineffective, however, it could likewise really perpetuate the issue. Viola Ross-Smith, a science communications manager for the British Trust for Ornithology who did her Ph.D. on pecking responses in gull chicks, says: “Culling is disruptive to the population. Studies on herring gulls have shown it frees up nesting sites which can then attract other birds to fill the space. It can also cause the birds who are already there to shift around and disperse to other colonies, which is thought to have increased urban gull populations in certain parts of the country.”
She includes that a few people thoroughly consider the culling of gulls quite a few years in Bowland Fells, Lancashire, which is a piece of the reason why such a large number of urban gull populations have shown up around the country in any case.