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Tackling the Gull Menace in Bath

Tackling the Gull Menace in Bath

8, March 2017

Bath & North East Somerset Council is continuing to invest in a campaign  to tackle the gull menace in the area. The Council allocated £85,000 in 2016/17, supported by a further £57,000 in 2017/18 to tackle the gull problem in Bath and North East Somerset. Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said:

“During the breeding season, which runs from April to August, gulls can become noisy and aggressive. It’s important that we work together to tackle this issue as a community – everyone can help. If there are nests on your roof and you are in one of our areas, call and ask for a free roof treatment; make sure you use your food waste bins, and don’t feed the gulls – you’re not helping your community or the birds.”

Gull, SeagullGulls will typically start nest building in mid-April so start looking to see if you can see any nesting activity on your roof. Although gulls will be seen on roofs now, they will not start building nests until the environmental temperature has increased and this typically happens around mid-April. Treatment cannot be fully booked until there is confirmation that a nest has been built. It can be difficult to confirm this when you may not be able to see your entire roof, so some useful indications that a nest maybe present are:

  • Increased activity, with gulls travelling back and forth with twigs and nesting material.
  • The nest is formed in two to three days, after which one of the pair will be seen sitting the nest.
  • In the early stages, you will see a pair sitting close together, usually close to where the nest will be formed.
  • You will also often see an increase in aggression from the adult gulls swooping at anyone or anything that gets too close.

From April, free roof treatments to remove gull nests and eggs will be available in areas of Bath where evidence confirms large or increasing numbers of breeding pairs. This includes the wards of: Abbey, Kingsmead, Newbridge, Twerton, Westmoreland and Widcombe. The former Welton Bibby site in Midsomer Norton will also be treated as well as a number of Council-owned buildings in Bath city centre. This follows on from a successful campaign last year, when 1150 eggs and 469 nests were removed.
NBC Environment have been contracted to carry out this work on behalf of the Council and will be visiting these areas over the next few weeks, with plans to start the first round of roof treatments in mid-April when the gulls typically begin to start building their nests. We will contact existing customers and try to call on as many properties as possible, leaving a leaflet with more details if no-one is at home.

NBC will need permission from the property owner before we access a roof. We will also need to make sure that your roof can be accessed safely. If you think there is a nest on your roof, please contact NBC Environment on 0333 567 2020 or complete a web form on the Council website.

The roof treatments are part of a series of measures being put in place to tackle the gull problem, supported by Bath and North East Somerset Council. There will also be further work encouraging everyone to keep the streets clear of litter and waste. On February 23, Council officer Cath Brown talked to residents about tackling rats and seagulls, at a meeting of the Midsomer Norton Society. She talked about the work being carried out by the Council and how residents can help, particularly by ensuring food sources are less available – from dropped food in the High Street to bird-table food and waste.

The Council is also continuing its work with the University of the West of England and Middlesex University to carry out research into gull behaviour. Council officers are working with behavioural ecology and psychology students at the universities to map and track the behaviour of the gulls as they interact with their food sources and nesting sites. There is very little existing research available on this subject and it will give us the opportunity to gather evidence at a scale that hasn’t been possible before, providing a clear steer on future intervention work.

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