'Are you feeding the problem?' - Borough council launches campaign to cut gull nuisance
PUBLISHED: 13:18 09 May 2019
Gulls in Great Yarmouth defecate on cars and laundry and their squawking keeps people awake in the early hours - yet some of the town's residents continue to feed them.
It is this deliberate feeding, followed by a recent spike in complaints from the town's suburbs, which has prompted the borough council to launch an awareness campaign to reduce the nuisance.
A leaflet asking the question, 'Are you feeding the gull problem?' will be distributed by environmental officers in a targeted way in residential areas when complaints about gulls are received.
The campaign is going live as gulls, which are legally protected as wild animals, consider nest sites for this year's breeding season.
Most people associate the birds with the town centre, especially around the outdoor market, but the majority of complaints about gulls are from suburban areas of the borough, where deliberate feeding is supporting unnaturally large colonies of gulls.
Gulls choose to nest and breed in areas with ready access to food, so reducing access to food and responsibly disposing waste are the most effective and sustainable ways to cut gull numbers.
The council's social media campaign visually highlights the direct link between the act of feeding gulls and the problems colonies cause in urban areas, advising householders 'Don't be #gull-ible'.
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Through raising awareness the campaign aims to help reduce gull-related issues that affect people's home lives.
Cllr Carl Smith, chairman of the environment committee, said: "Gulls are intelligent, social birds who choose to nest together with close access to food.
"If there is less food about, gulls lay fewer eggs or go where there are richer pickings.
"In recent years, gulls have spread into some suburban areas due to people disposing of waste irresponsibly and, unfortunately, deliberately feeding gulls.
"While there is no offence attached to the feeding of any species of bird on your own property, we ask residents who choose to do so to be considerate of their neighbours, to dispose of waste responsibly and not to over-feed. Where issues of over-feeding are reported to us, we visit the householder and wider area to provide advice, and we've been successful with this approach."