FAQ’s Gulls

Q: Are seagulls protected in the UK?

A: Yes, all species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is illegal to intentionally injure or kill any gull or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

Q: How can I prevent seagulls from nesting on my roof?

A: There are several ways to deter gulls from nesting, including the use of spikes, nets, wires, and non-toxic bird repellents. You can also use decoy predators or audible deterrents.

Q: What diseases can seagulls carry?

A: Seagulls can carry and spread diseases such as Salmonellosis, E.coli, and Campylobacter. They can also carry parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites.

Q: Why are seagulls becoming a problem in urban areas?

A: Seagulls are becoming a problem in urban areas due to the availability of food and suitable nesting sites on buildings. This attracts large numbers of gulls, leading to noise, mess, and potential health risks.

Q: What kind of noise can scare away seagulls?

A: Sounds of predators such as hawks or eagles, loud bangs or distress signals from other gulls can sometimes scare away seagulls. Devices emitting these sounds can be purchased, but their effectiveness can vary. See Bio – acoustics in action: https://youtu.be/2GfCiq3WEVc

Q: Will real birds of prey scare away seagulls?

A: Yes – flown on a regular basis in an area gulls will keep away from an apex predator. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6btohC2Re_M&t=4s

Q: Will birds of prey kites scare away seagulls?

A; Yes – used with hawks and distress calls, they can create a hostile environment to gulls, so they go elsewhere. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Z0129kAEI

Q: Can I use a fake owl to scare off seagulls?

A: Fake owls and other predator bird decoys can sometimes be effective at scaring off seagulls, but they may become less effective over time as the seagulls realize they aren’t real.

See: https://btpenviro.com/owl-decoy-scare-birds/

Q: Will gulls damage my solar panel array?

A: Yes gulls will damage or reduce efficency of a solar panel array. Dropping can corrode, shade and damage panels. Stones have been dropped on them as part of the courtship.

See: https://btpenviro.com/seagull-problems/

Q: Can I feed seagulls in my garden?

A: It’s not recommended to feed seagulls as this can encourage them to become dependent on human food sources, potentially leading to aggressive behaviour.

Q: How long do seagulls live?

A: The lifespan of a seagull can vary by species, but many live between 15-20 years in the wild.

Q: Are seagulls aggressive?

A: Seagulls can become aggressive, especially during the breeding season or when they feel their young are threatened. They may also show aggression when competing for food.

Q: Can I use a noise device to deter seagulls?

A: Yes, noise devices can be an effective way to deter seagulls. However, they may not be suitable in all situations due to potential disturbance to people and other wildlife.

 

Q: What do seagulls eat?

A: Seagulls are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of foods, including fish, invertebrates, other birds’ eggs, and human food waste.

 

Q: Why do seagulls steal food?

A: Seagulls are opportunistic feeders and may steal food when natural food sources are scarce or when they’ve learned that people are an easy food source.

 

Q: What is the breeding season for seagulls in the UK?

A: The breeding season for seagulls in the UK usually starts in April and ends in July.

 

Q: How can I clean seagull droppings safely?

A: When cleaning seagull droppings, it’s important to wear protective clothing, including gloves and a mask. The area should be wet down to prevent dust formation and then thoroughly cleaned with a disinfectant. Wear a P3 Dust mask.

 

Q: Do seagulls return to the same place to nest each year?

A: Yes, seagulls often return to the same place to nest each year, especially if they have previously had successful breeding seasons in that location.

 

Q: How many eggs do seagulls lay?

A: Seagulls typically lay between 1 to 3 eggs per breeding season.

 

Q: How long does it take for seagull eggs to hatch?

A: It typically takes around 22-26 days for seagull eggs to hatch.

 

Q: Do seagulls mate for life?

A: Many species of seagulls do mate for life, although ‘divorces’ can occur if a pair is not successful in breeding.

 

Q: How can I identify different types of seagulls?

A: Identification can be difficult as there are several types of gulls in the UK, and their appearance can vary based on age and season. Features to look at include size, plumage color, leg and bill color, and distinctive markings.

 

Q: Can seagulls drink seawater?

A: Yes, seagulls can drink seawater. They have special glands above their eyes that filter out the salt, which is then excreted through their nostrils.

 

Q: How high can seagulls fly?

A: Seagulls can fly at heights of over 1,000 feet, and they have been observed flying around high peaks over 10,000 feet.

 

Q: What predators do seagulls have?

A: Adult gulls have few predators, but eggs and chicks can be preyed upon by other birds, such as crows, and other gulls, as well as foxes and badgers.

 

Q: What is the best time of day to deter seagulls?

A: Seagulls are most active during the day, so that’s the best time to use deterrents. However, it’s important to have measures in place throughout the day as gulls can also be active at dawn and dusk.

 

Q: What should I do if a seagull is injured?

A: If a seagull is injured, it’s best to contact a local wildlife rescue organization for advice. They can provide guidance and may be able to assist in the rescue of the bird.

 

Q: How long does it take for seagull chicks to learn to fly?

A: Seagull chicks, also known as fledglings, typically start to fly around 5-6 weeks after hatching.

 

Q: Can I remove a seagull nest from my property?

A: In the UK, it’s illegal to intentionally damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it’s in use or being built, including seagulls. If the birds are causing a serious problem, you may need to seek advice from the local authority or a pest control professional.

 

Q: Why are seagulls so loud?

A: Seagulls can be loud for a variety of reasons. They may be calling to mark their territory, alerting others to a food source, or warning of danger. Noise can also increase during the breeding season.

 

Q: How can I deter seagulls from my property without causing harm?

A: There are many non-harmful deterrents available, including bird spikes, nets, reflective tape, and visual deterrents like decoy predators. Auditory devices that emit predator calls can also be effective.

 

Q: Do seagulls sleep at night?

A: Seagulls are mostly diurnal, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. However, they can also be active at dawn and dusk.

 

Q: Do seagulls carry lice?

A: Yes, seagulls can carry bird lice, which are species-specific and pose little to no risk to humans.

 

Q: Why do seagulls circle areas?

A: Seagulls often circle areas in search of food, during social interactions, or as part of their mating rituals.

 

Q: What does it mean when seagulls are quiet?

A: If seagulls are quiet, it could be that they are resting, or there’s no immediate threat or food source to communicate about.

 

Q: Can I shoot seagulls?

A: No, it is illegal to intentionally kill or injure seagulls in the UK. They are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-general-licences-for-the-control-of-wild-birds for up to date changes in the law.

Q: Can seagulls become dependent on human food?

A: Yes, if seagulls are consistently fed by humans or have easy access to human food waste, they can become dependent on it and may lose their natural hunting instincts.

 

Q: What should I do if seagulls are causing a nuisance at my business property?

A: You can consult a professional pest control service. They can assess the situation and recommend a plan of action, which may include deterrents, bird proofing or other non-harmful measures.

 

Q: Can I keep a seagull as a pet?

A: It’s generally not recommended or legal to keep a seagull as a pet in the UK. Seagulls are wild animals and are best left in their natural habitats.

 

Q: What role do seagulls play in the ecosystem?

A: Seagulls play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to control populations of their prey. They also help to clean up the environment by consuming carrion and waste.

 

Q: Can seagulls attack humans?

A: While rare, seagulls have been known to swoop at humans, particularly if they feel their nests or young are being threatened. Hand feeding gulls encourages them to badger humans for food. In some areas they have learnt to swoop on people, so they drop their food.

 

Q: How far can seagulls fly?

A: Seagulls are excellent fliers and can travel hundreds of miles in a day. They have even been known to fly across oceans.

 

Q: Can seagulls swim?

A: Yes, seagulls are good swimmers. They have webbed feet, which allow them to paddle in water.

 

Q: How can I keep seagulls off my boat?

A: Using visual deterrents such as decoy birds of prey, flags, or reflective tape can help keep seagulls off your boat. There are also products available like bird spikes and bird gels that deter gulls from landing.

 

Q: What’s the best way to handle a seagull infestation?

A: The best way to handle a seagull infestation is to consult with a professional pest control service. They can provide advice and implement a plan of action to deter the birds from your property.

 

Q: Can seagulls drink fresh water?

A: Yes, while seagulls can drink seawater thanks to their unique salt glands, they can also drink fresh water.

 

Q: Can seagulls transmit diseases?

A: Yes, seagulls can transmit various diseases such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter. These diseases are usually spread through contact with bird droppings.

 

Q: How can I protect my picnic from seagulls?

A: Keeping your food covered whenever possible, not leaving food waste out in the open, and not feeding the birds can help protect your picnic from seagulls.

 

Q: What are the legal protections for seagulls in the UK?

A: All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, making it illegal to intentionally or recklessly injure or kill them or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

 

Q: What is the lifespan of a seagull?

A: The lifespan of a seagull can vary greatly depending on the species. Many live for 10-15 years, but some can live up to 30 years or more.

 

Q: How can I prevent seagulls from nesting on my roof?

A: You can prevent seagulls from nesting on your roof by installing deterrents such as bird spikes, nets, or electric tracks.

 

Q: Why do seagulls tap their feet?

A: Seagulls tap their feet in a behavior known as “foot-trembling” or “rain dance”. This is thought to imitate the sound of rain, which can cause worms and other invertebrates to come to the surface, making them easier to catch.

 

Q: How can I discourage seagulls without harming them?

A: There are various ways to discourage seagulls without causing them harm, including using visual and auditory deterrents, ensuring waste is securely stored, and avoiding feeding them.

 

Q: Why do seagulls gather in large groups?

A: Seagulls often gather in large groups for feeding, breeding, and protection from predators. This behavior is known as “flocking”.

 

Q: How do seagulls navigate during their flight?

A: Seagulls are believed to use a variety of methods to navigate during their flights, including visual landmarks, the position of the sun, wind patterns, and possibly even the Earth’s magnetic field.

 

Q: How can I prevent seagulls from stealing my food?

A: Keep your food covered as much as possible, don’t leave food waste out in the open, and avoid feeding the birds. If they associate your presence with food, they’re more likely to approach you. Dont feed them as they get used to humans and will badger you for food.

Q: Can seagulls drink seawater?

A: Yes, unlike most birds, seagulls can drink seawater. They have a special pair of glands above their eyes, specifically designed to flush the salt from their systems.

 

Q: Can I feed seagulls?

A: Feeding seagulls can lead to overpopulation and aggressive behavior, making it a discouraged practice. It can also be harmful to their health, as human food isn’t suitable for them.

 

Q: What’s the difference between a seagull and a pigeon?

A: While both are birds, seagulls and pigeons are different species with different behaviors. Pigeons are typically found in urban areas and are smaller, while seagulls are usually found near coasts and are larger.

 

Q: Do seagulls eat other birds?

A: While they primarily eat fish and invertebrates, seagulls are opportunistic feeders and can eat other birds, especially chicks and eggs.

 

Q: How can I prevent seagulls from damaging my property?

A: Install deterrents like spikes or nets, keep potential food sources securely covered, and regularly clean any areas where they might nest or roost.

 

Q: Why do seagulls fly at high altitudes?

A: Seagulls fly at high altitudes for several reasons, including searching for food, avoiding predators, and when migrating or travelling over long distances.

 

Q: Can I move a seagull’s nest?

A: In the UK, it’s illegal to intentionally disturb or move a seagull’s nest while it’s in use. If the nest is causing serious problems, it’s recommended to seek professional advice.

Q: What’s the best time of day to deal with seagulls?

A: Generally, the best time to address a seagull problem is in the evening or early morning when they are less active. However, any intervention should be carried out by professionals to ensure legal and ethical practices.

 

Q: Are seagulls attracted to shiny objects?

A: Contrary to popular belief, research suggests that seagulls are not particularly attracted to shiny objects. However, they are opportunistic feeders and might investigate unfamiliar objects out of curiosity.

 

Q: How many eggs do seagulls lay?

A: Seagulls typically lay between 1 to 3 eggs per breeding season. The eggs are usually speckled and blend in with the surrounding environment for protection.

 

Q: Can seagulls eat chips and bread?

A: While seagulls can eat chips and bread, these foods are not nutritionally balanced for them and can lead to health issues. It’s best not to feed seagulls or other wild birds with human food.

 

Q: How quickly can seagulls multiply?

A: Seagulls reach sexual maturity at around 4 years old, and can breed once a year. This, combined with few natural predators and easy access to food in urban areas, can lead to rapid increases in seagull populations.

Q: Why do seagulls circle overhead?

A: Seagulls circle overhead for a number of reasons. It could be a hunting behavior, a defensive behavior to protect their territory, or it could be related to thermal currents that help them gain altitude without much effort.

 

Q: Can seagulls cause damage to roofs?

A: Yes, seagulls can cause damage to roofs. They can dislodge roof tiles, block gutters with their nests, and their droppings can be corrosive.

 

Q: Are seagulls protected in the UK?

A: Yes, all species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This makes it illegal to intentionally or recklessly injure or kill them, or to damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

Q: Why do seagulls squawk so much?

A: Seagulls squawk for a variety of reasons including communication with other gulls, to mark their territory, and to warn off potential threats.

Q: What should I do if a seagull becomes aggressive

A: If a seagull becomes aggressive, it’s best to leave the area calmly. If the problem persists or if the gull is nesting near your property, contact a pest control professional for advice.

 

Q: Do seagulls migrate?

A: Some species of seagulls do migrate, often travelling long distances from their breeding grounds to warmer climates during the winter. Other species are more resident and stay in the same area all year round.

 

Q: Why are seagulls important?

A: Seagulls play an important role in the ecosystem. They help control populations of their prey and act as a natural cleanup crew by eating carrion and waste. They also serve as indicators of environmental health.

 

Q: Can seagulls carry ticks or fleas?

A: Yes, seagulls can carry ectoparasites such as ticks, fleas, and lice. These parasites can potentially carry diseases, though the risk of transmission to humans is relatively low.

 

Q: How do seagulls hunt for food?

A: Seagulls are opportunistic feeders with a varied diet. They hunt by scavenging, catching fish, or stealing food from other birds. They can also eat insects, rodents, and even other birds or chicks.

 

Q: How does population control work with seagulls?

A: Population control for seagulls typically involves reducing the availability of food, using deterrents to discourage nesting, and occasionally egg oiling or removal under license. Always consult with professionals to ensure any control is carried out ethically and legally.

 

Q: What impact do seagulls have on local wildlife?

A: Seagulls can impact local wildlife by preying on other bird species’ eggs and chicks, competing for food sources, and spreading diseases. However, they are also part of the natural ecosystem and play a role in controlling other populations.

 

Q: Can seagulls swim?

A: Yes, seagulls are excellent swimmers. They have webbed feet that make them very efficient in water.

 

Q: Do seagulls return to the same place every year?

A: Yes, many seagulls return to the same breeding grounds year after year. Some may even return to the exact same nesting spot.

 

Q: Why do seagulls hover over water?

A: Seagulls often hover over water to search for fish and other food in the water below.

 

Q: How can I identify a seagull?

A: Seagulls typically have a white body with grey back and wings, yellow bill and webbed feet. They are often larger than other urban birds. However, there are many species of gulls and their appearance can vary.

 

Q: How long do seagulls live?

A: On average, seagulls live for around 15-20 years, although some species can live longer, with maximum ages reported over 30 years.

 

Q: How do seagulls mate?

A: Seagulls are monogamous and usually mate for life. The male will court the female with a variety of displays and calls, and once they have mated, both parents will help incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.

Q: Can seagulls drink freshwater?

A: Yes, while they can process saltwater, seagulls prefer drinking freshwater when it’s available.

 

Q: Are seagulls becoming a problem in urban areas?

A: In some urban areas, seagulls can be a problem due to their noise, droppings, and sometimes aggressive behaviour, particularly during breeding season. However, these issues can be managed with the right measures.

 

Q: Why do seagulls tap their feet on the ground?

A: Seagulls tap their feet on the ground in a behaviour known as “foot-paddling” or “rain dance”. This is thought to mimic the sound of rain, tricking earthworms and other invertebrates to come to the surface.

 

Q: What is a seagull’s natural habitat?

A: Seagulls are typically found near the sea, on coasts, and around harbours. However, many have adapted to live in urban areas.

 

Q: Can seagulls harm pets?

A: While it’s uncommon, large seagulls can potentially harm small pets. However, they are generally not a threat to pets.

 

Q: Why do seagulls gather in large groups?

A: Seagulls often gather in large groups for safety, as there’s safety in numbers against predators. They also gather to socialise and search for food collectively.

 

Q: How do seagulls sleep?

A: Seagulls can sleep on land or water. They have a special mechanism in their brain that allows them to sleep with one eye open, keeping an eye out for potential threats.

 

Q: Can I use a decoy to deter seagulls?

A: Decoys like those resembling predatory birds can sometimes deter seagulls. However, their effectiveness varies and they often work best in combination with other deterrent methods.

 

Q: Why are seagulls so noisy at night?

A: Seagulls can be noisy at night due to a number of reasons. They may be protecting their territory, communicating with each other, or responding to perceived threats. Urban lighting can also disrupt their normal sleeping patterns.

 

Q: Can I feed seagulls at the beach?

A: While it might seem harmless to feed seagulls at the beach, it’s generally discouraged. Feeding can make them dependent on human food, which is not nutritionally balanced for them, and can lead to aggressive behaviour.

 

Q: Can seagulls spread diseases to humans?

A: While the risk is low, seagulls can potentially carry and spread diseases to humans through their droppings or if they come into contact with food preparation areas.

 

Q: What’s the best way to clean up after a seagull infestation?

A: After a seagull infestation, it’s important to thoroughly clean any areas they have been in to remove droppings and potential parasites. This should be done wearing protective clothing. Professional cleaning services can ensure this is done safely and effectively.

 

Q: Can seagulls eat dog or cat food?

A: Seagulls can eat dog or cat food, but it’s not recommended to feed them intentionally, as it can lead to dependence and health issues.

 

Q: How to tell a male seagull from a female seagull?

A: Male and female seagulls look very similar and it can be difficult to tell them apart by appearance alone. Often, their behaviours during the mating season can be a better indication of their sex.

 

Q: Why do seagulls stand on one leg?

A: Seagulls often stand on one leg to conserve body heat. By tucking one leg into their body, they can reduce heat loss.

 

Q: What’s the largest species of seagull in the UK?

A: The largest species of seagull in the UK is the Great Black-backed Gull, which can have a wingspan of up to 1.7 meters.

 

Q: What to do if a seagull is injured?

A: If you find an injured seagull, don’t try to handle it yourself as it may bite or scratch. Contact a local wildlife rehabilitation centre or the RSPCA for advice.

 

 Q: How do I humanely deter seagulls from my property?

A: There are various humane methods to deter seagulls, including using visual or auditory deterrents, bird spikes or netting, and reducing access to food. For persistent issues, contact a professional pest control service.

 

Seagull managment can be very complex, here at BTP we have extensie experience with dealing with gull issues.

Call uss TODAY on 01525 863 951to discuss your issues.