The Department of the Environment is advising householders to check their roof for nesting gulls, and to call in a licensed pest controller if you think you have a nest.
This time of year gulls have established their territories and are building nests ready to breed. If you have a nest on your roof it is easier for pest controllers to tackle the problem now than in May when there are eggs or chicks in the nest.
All gulls, their nests, eggs and chicks are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000. Herring gulls are declining worldwide and are scheduled for protection under international agreement. In Jersey, their conservation status is amber, meaning that their numbers are also declining here..
Seagull problems can be completely avoided by preventing them nesting on your roof and by securing your refuse bins. It’s also important not to feed gulls, according to Natural Environment Officer David Tipping.
“If we prevent gulls nesting on our roofs, discourage those people that persist in feeding them and stop food waste on the streets, herring gulls would revert to a more natural diet and in time we hope this will lead to birds returning to the cliffs and a reduction in urban gull populations.”
What can I do now?
- Check your roof now especially if seagulls are congregating or have started to build a nest or if they have built a nest in your area in the past. Gulls started defining their territories back in February.
- If you have gulls active on your roof, contractors can erect preventative measures which will stop the birds from nesting.
- If you have a nest, take action only through a pest controller with the appropriate licence.
- Be a good neighbour and let others know if a gull is nesting on their roof. Remember a neighbour’s nest is very likely to impact on you so consider this from a communal perspective.
- Commercial property owners need to be responsible and check their roofs now.
- Protect your domestic rubbish and do not feed seagulls.
- Early action provides simpler and less traumatic pest control options and works better. Act safely and consider others.
Nesting gulls can only be removed by a pest controller who has the relevant licence to do this work. If nothing is done by May, the eggs will have hatched and removing the gulls means killing chicks. This is not an acceptable solution as it causes unnecessary distress and is illegal without a specific licence.