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City planning for onset of 'worst gull season' yet in Gloucester with record numbers of birds expected

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 28, 2014

Comments (9)

FLOCKS of seagulls could reach epidemic proportions this year as the struggle to control numbers nesting in the Gloucester city skyline continues.

A toxic mix of a ready food supply, no natural predators and Gloucester rooftops resembling cliff tops make the city perfect for seagulls to thrive.

Experts estimate there could be as many as 1,500 nesting birds in 2014, a five per cent increase since 2011.

Menacing gulls have been known to attack motorists and pedestrians, and splatter property with mess. Planning is well under way for this year's anti-gull programme ahead of spring nesting.

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Muhammed Nawaz has been plagued by seagulls at his Bedmaker business in Eastgate Street.

He said: "I have been in Gloucester since 1982 and the problem is getting worse. Last summer there were some dead seagulls on our roof and when they became infested with maggots they started to fall into our building. It was disgusting.

"A lot of our stock was ruined and it caused us a lot of problems. It is particularly bad in Eastgate Street because of the food left out from the takeaways."

Up until 2013, the cost of Gloucester gull control has been funded by the city council with an annual budget of £9,460 to carry out an egg treatment programme.

That fund has since been topped up by £10,000 from Cory Environmental, the operators of Hempsted landfill site.

A fresh campaign ahead of the breeding season will see 'do not feed the birds' signs slapped up around Gloucester.

Gull breeding surveys carried out by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency revealed city hotspots where nesting was rife.

The Gate streets, Clarence Street and Russell Street, Shire Hall, Gloucester prison, industrial areas in Cole Avenue and Bristol Road, Ashville Trading Estate, Toys R Us at the Peel Centre and Nicks Timber Yard in Bristol Road have all been identified.

They will now be targeted in the council's egg treatment programme.

AHVLA said there is still a lot of suitable nesting habitats within Gloucester and the gull population has potential to expand. It said without egg control and a reduction in feeding opportunities there would be an even larger problem.

Contractor, NBC Bird and Pest Solutions, will use a variety of techniques depending on the location of properties.

Techniques include egg oiling, egg replacement and destruction.

A bird gel repellent was also tried in Gloucestershire County Council's roof at Quayside, but proved ineffective.

City councillor Sajid Patel, cabinet member for the environment, said: "Urban gulls raise a number of complex issues. They are a national problem not a Gloucester phenomenon. We are working closely to ensure we approach this from a number of different perspectives.

"Our aim is to try and mitigate the worst aspects of the impact they have on residents and businesses in the city.

"Our programme will not deliver overnight success, and residents and traders can help us combat the problem by disposing of waste properly and by refraining from feeding pigeons and gulls."

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  • Motormouth  |  January 29 2014, 10:26PM

    It's got to the state now where simply clearing the streets of food at night (or not dumping it there in the first place) is not going to make much difference in the numbers of seagulls, there are other food sources open to them. I live just over the road from the Kingsditch Industrial Estate and the sheer numbers of gulls over our gardens (completely devoid of any fast food remains) and the overwhelming noise they make all summer especially in the early mornings has increased enormously in the twelve years since I moved here. Whatever Gloucester decide to do, long term the gull is definately here to stay.

  • meymey  |  January 28 2014, 10:49PM

    Kay_Powell , i had an image of your dog with wings and the resultant mess from the stuff he had eaten :D Tree 1974 , or better still just close the takeaways

  • Tree1974  |  January 28 2014, 6:30PM

    It's not the birds that are dirty, it's the people! Stop throwing rubbish and food on the floor and the problem will be much better - simple and cheep!

  • Kay_Powell  |  January 28 2014, 6:29PM

    I agree with you, meymey, but the city council is wedded to encouraging the 'night-time economy', which unfortunately includes (among many other anti-social behaviours) a lot of takeaway food being purchased while drunk, and then much of it being thrown down. I walk my dog around Gloucester at night, and he absolutely loves scoffing food that has just been discarded by revellers, but I have to prevent him from eating too much of the masses of food, or he'd be the size of a house.

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  • meymey  |  January 28 2014, 5:59PM

    its unknown to most Gloucester residents just what state and the continual cost of cleaning barton and eastgate streets from all the food and wrappings left from the night before weekends seeing an exceptional explosion of filth, im wondering how much this costs the Gloucester taxpayer every year? no food no birds its easy really

  • Villager1950  |  January 28 2014, 4:46PM

    I suppose if we had a plague of rats there would probably be a suggestion to treat the problem with birth control methods.

  • ghiabelinda  |  January 28 2014, 12:00PM

    here we go again, out come the moaners. in answer to your questions, why should we shoot the gulls, who are we to take their lives, and i would imagine its the party goers in eastgate street that help to enourage the gulls. talk about birds being dirty. eastgate st has got so many take aways what else do you expect, barton street is no better, in fact the number of cafes and take aways in the town entre is crazy, easy pickings, cant blame them really can you?

  • Apothegm_  |  January 28 2014, 8:40AM

    Not so much Angry Birds, but Angry Residents, then...

  • zalapompadoo  |  January 28 2014, 8:18AM

    walking through gloucester is sometimes lkie a scene from the movie the birds