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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 06:35 GMT
Experts flock to tackle urban gulls
Staring seagull
Seagulls are a growing urban problem for many
A conference on the problem of urban seagulls is beginning in Gloucester on Thursday.

Ornithologists, conservationists and local councils are meeting to look at the problems caused by the urban gull population explosion.

The birds have adapted well to urban life and have been known to become aggressive during the mating season.

Solutions to the problem include employing a hawk in Bristol - and an owl in Gloucester - to scare the birds away from their nesting places.

5,000 birds

A spokeswoman for Gloucester City Council said: "This is the first conference on urban gulls and the problems they can create living so close to humans. This is no longer a seaside issue.

"The birds can get very aggressive when they are feeding chicks and quite defensive. People do get attacked."

At the moment, around 5,000 live in and around Gloucester and it is hoped that painting oil over gulls' eggs to sterilise them will help reduce their numbers.

It is also thought that cutting rubbish on the streets will help.

Shooting is not considered a viable option as the birds tend to occupy sites in urban centres; and poisoning requires a special licence.




SEE ALSO:
Bird feeders may be prosecuted
01 Oct 03  |  Cornwall
Netting to stop school seagulls
12 Jun 03  |  Southern Counties



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