Gull proofing your property

Published on 11th March 2015

a grey and white gull with yellow legs and feet and a yellow beak tipped with black and red

Gulls have been increasingly attracted to inland areas for safe breeding grounds and steady food supply.

Urban gulls cause nuisance to residents and businesses in parts of Cheltenham during the spring and summer, with the noise they make in the early hours, swooping, faeces on balconies and cars, and nesting materials blocking guttering.  

Here are some ways in which local residents can help keep the gull population under control:

- Bird proof your property before the nesting season starts. This should be done as soon as possible, by mid-April, and will prevent gulls from landing and nesting, which is beneficial as they are at their noisiest when they are supporting hatchlings. 

- Fit long spikes to chimney stacks or short spikes to dormer roofs. This will stop birds from nesting and nets or wires will also stop birds from landing. Bird proofing should be carried out by a specialist to prevent harm to the birds. 

- Nests on residents’ roofs can be reported to the council’s environmental health team on 01242 264135, email ehbusinesssupport@www.cheltenham.gov.uk so that officers can visit during the egg replacement programme which takes place in early May. Or if you can reach the nest safely, you can swap the eggs for dummy eggs or remove the nest. Removing the nest will need to be repeated regularly, but will eventually deter the birds. 

- Finally residents can help by reducing food sources that are available to the gulls. Using the weekly food waste collection scheme rather than putting food in general waste, will reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfill.  Landfill sites are a major food source for gulls.   

The council coordinates an Urban Gulls Focus Group, which is open to interested residents.  The next meeting is on Wednesday 18 March at 5.30pm the Municipal Offices, Promenade, Cheltenham, and is an opportunity to hear about gull control methods. Please contact Helen Down on 01242 774960 if you would like to attend.

Sarah Clark, public and environmental health team leader, said: “Gulls become increasingly troublesome in the build up to the breeding season in May, and bird proofing is a very good way to deter them in a sustainable way.”

Cllr Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, added: “We are keen to get our residents on board in our ongoing work to manage our urban gull population. We are pleased to have an additional £8,616 this year to start using dummy eggs in the nests. Gulls will sit on the dummy eggs and are unlikely to lay again during the breeding season and so the growth of the gull population will be restricted. 

“We will also use the additional funds to carry out a survey of the gull population this year so that we can monitor its size.”


For media enquiries, please contact: Kelly Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email kelly.carter@www.cheltenham.gov.uk

Notes:
The council has £5,000 funding to spend in 2015/16 on controlling the borough’s urban gull population; and has an additional £8,616 this year to start using dummy eggs and to carry out a survey of Cheltenham’s gull population.