Council acts to quell swooping gull attacks
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Environment
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Cardiff Council is taking steps to quell the menace caused by seagulls in the city, as the birds' breeding season gets underway.
Councillor Bob Derbyshire explained that “typical problems experienced by residents include noise, the tearing open of refuse bags, nesting on roofs and swooping attacks, including attempts to grab food".
There are two main species of gulls nesting in Cardiff: the Herring Gull and the Lesser Black Backed Gull.
Mating pairs stay together, returning to the same nest sites over the course of their life span of up to 30 years.
The problems, common to many towns and cities in the UK, are made worse by the ready supply of food from the growth of a street café culture and rising numbers of fast food outlets.
The birds lack any natural predators, while the undisturbed urban environment offers unlimited nest sites and relatively high ambient temperatures.
There is no statutory obligation on the council to control seagulls and the birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Cllr Derbyshire continued: “The introduction by the council of wheeled bins and food waste caddies has been an important step in reducing the availability of food for the gulls. Where food waste is disposed of incorrectly, there is a likelihood of attracting pests such as seagulls and the council will incur costs of the clean up."
The local authority has increased its focus on littering enforcement to discourage people from dropping food waste. Those that do may be liable for a penalty.
Steps are being taken to reduce the numbers of breeding birds. The council offers an egg replacement service at commercial premises with accessible roofs.
Dummy eggs are substituted for real ones in occupied nests, to reduce the rate of reproduction and to prevent aggressive parental behaviours by the gulls.
Around 25 roofs are currently under contract for the treatment with around 200-250 eggs being replaced annually.