Various methods of control are available these can be broken down into Short Term solutions and Long Term solutions:
To remove the health and safety risks once birds have started nesting, it may be necessary to prevent the eggs hatching, this can be achieved by simply taking or breaking the eggs, the gull will however usually lay more eggs. Alternatively, the eggs can be treated to prevent them hatching or substituted with plastic eggs, this will keep the gull sitting on the eggs and by the time they realise the eggs are not going to hatch, it’s too late to lay a new clutch. If carried out correctly, this causes no harm or distress to the adult bird and can prevent the aggression of the adult birds that might have been encountered if young were hatched and also substantially reduce the health and safety risk posed by a large number of droppings. As an aside, this tends to reduce the amount of noise the gulls produce as well. I offer an Egg replacement / oiling service and at the end of the season I will remove nests if required.
To prevent gulls becoming a health and safety issue, a system to prevent Gulls gaining access to nesting / roosting areas can be considered, the various methods are detailed below. I can advise upon and install the various options noted below.
These can be considered as three different approaches-
These are used extensively to deter birds from roosting and perching on specific areas of buildings.
Anti-roosting spikes, are designed to physically prevent a bird from landing on ledges, guttering and other architectural features.
Products like bird netting are usually installed to physically prevent a bird from gaining access to an area rather than a specific perch.
Deterrents and anti-roosting products have the potential to be effective providing that the correct product is chosen and installed.
Sonic and Ultrasonic Bird Scarers’
There are an increasing number of sonic, and ultrasonic devices being offered to those experiencing problems with wild birds. A sonic system will produce sound or noise that can be heard by the human ear such as a siren or a loud bang. An ultrasonic system produces sound is normally outside the range of the human ear, but can be heard by some bird species. Some systems use recordings from various sources, such as;
• Predator calls, which mimic the sound of a predatory bird such as a hawk or falcon
• Alarm calls, which mimic the sound of the target species when it is being attacked or in danger
• Distress calls, which are made by the target species when it is under attack from a predator or when it is pain
At best, these systems should only ever be considered as part of an overall bird control system as they rarely if ever have any effect as a stand-alone control. Some systems may appear relatively inexpensive when considered against anti-perching systems but there is a reason for this – most noise-based systems have little if any effect on the target species. The reason for this is habituation – most pest species of birds are highly intelligent and will quickly habituate to sonic noise, ultrasound and bio-acoustic scaring techniques.
For a few days the system may have some effect but thereafter the birds become used to the interference and ignore it. None of these systems will have any effect on breeding birds that have eggs or young in a nest - they cannot be used within the breeding period. I remain to be convinced that any of these systems work longer term.
In most cases problem birds such as gulls cause the most significant problems during the breeding period and therefore a system of this nature would be worthless.
Electric Shock Systems
Electric shock systems are NOT legal for use in the UK and any property owner installing one may face prosecution.
Birds of Prey
Falconry, is an ancient and highly skilled field sport using birds of prey to catch quarry. The use of a bird of prey in a commercial bird control operation is no different; despite what you might be told, a bird of prey cannot be trained not to kill, it is a natural instinct for the bird to do so.
Birds of prey used for commercial purposes will occasionally kill the target (or other) species. (ask Norwich Council)...
A number of companies in the UK offer this service where birds of prey are flown in or around a specific building or site on a regular basis and the client is told that the resident pigeon / gull flock will move elsewhere to roost....
Just one little thought on this.... Many large Cities / Towns now suffer from Gull (and pigeon) problems, whilst at the same time many also have resident Peregrine Falcons nesting and living within the same area. I know for a fact that Bath, Chichester and Brighton all have Peregrines nesting in the same vicinity as gulls, if they can't frighten the gulls into moving, why believe a captive bird will do better?
Flying a bird of prey is now being commonly offered as a means of deterring roof-nesting gulls, yet birds of prey are not effective at scaring nesting gulls. Gulls will never be deterred by raptors during the breeding period and at any other time of the year the threat will only move the gulls on for an hour or so, necessitating regular patrols to keep the gulls away. Indeed, it is not unknown for Gulls to 'gang up' and chase the falcon / hawk away.
It might make an interesting spectacle for visitors, and give the impression that the local authority is doing 'something' unless of course they catch and kill another bird, just wait for the publicity from that!
The anti-roosting spike is the most effective stand-alone anti-roosting product on the market, it has an extremely long lifespan. Anti-roosting spikes vary in quality and price dramatically with cheap and poor quality Far Eastern imports now flooding the UK market. Choosing the right manufacturer and choosing the right spike product (and there are many types and specifications of anti-roosting spike) will determine the effectiveness of the installation and the resultant level of protection.
Post and Wire Systems
This anti-perching device consists of a series of vertical steel posts installed onto (or into) a flat surface and spanned by thin steel wires provided at a height of approximately 4 to 6 inches above the surface to be protected. The steel wire is joined to the posts by small steel springs. When a bird attempts to land on the protected surface its feet first touch the wires, which move due to the fact that the wire is attached to the vertical posts by springs, making the bird feel unsafe and resulting in the bird aborting its landing.
The netting installation should be regularly maintained and re-tensioned to stop the product stretching and becoming ineffective. Nylon bird netting expands and contracts with extremes of heat and cold and therefore quickly becomes baggy if it is not re-tensioned regularly. If you have a listed building, prior to considering bird netting, the listed buildings officer at the local council offices should be consulted.
It is unlikely that applications to net a grade 1 listed building will receive the necessary permissions.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss how I might be able to help you....
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