Seagull cull ruled out, but town may call on falcons

PUBLISHED: 13:48 07 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:48 07 November 2013

Falconer Jonathan Marshall (right) with Summit Chairman Tom Wright and Environmental Health Officer Janet Wallace, each holding a falcon

Falconer Jonathan Marshall (right) with Summit Chairman Tom Wright and Environmental Health Officer Janet Wallace, each holding a falcon

Archant

Specially trained anti-seagull falcons could be deployed to ‘intimidate’ nuisance birds in Exmouth.

But a cull is ‘not an option’ say council environment chiefs.

Anti-seagull falcons were one of the ideas proposed at the seagull summit hosted by East Devon District Council last week.

The meeting followed a summer of complaints as unruly birds dive-bombed visitors, stole food from the hands of residents, tore open rubbish bags and covered rooftops and cars with excrement.

Two specially bred falcons were brought along to the summit by Jonathan Marshall to demonstrate one of the measures that can be taken to deter the gulls from nesting on buildings.

Speaking after the event, summit chairman Councillor Tom Wright declared the meeting to have been a great success.

Councillor Wright, the deputy member for the environment, said he was ‘pleased’ with the audience of 50 people in the room and impressed at the range of topics covered in the meeting.

He added: “This proved to be an extremely worthwhile event, where people with a range of opinions and interests in the gull problem came together for a mature debate.

“As a result, we are now all better informed about the lifestyles of gulls and the measures that we, as humans, can take so that we can live side by side more comfortably.

“We can’t expect the gulls to change their habits unless people change their behaviour. The fundamental point is that we must cut off the birds’ supply of fast food and encourage them to go back to their natural diet of fish and worms rather than burgers and chips.”

Other speakers included district council environmental health officers and Damian McChesney from Thermoclean Pest Control Services.

He outlined some of the practical measures that property owners can take to discourage gulls from nesting on their roofs. Damian said that last year over 800 eggs were replaced with dummy eggs – and this represented potentially 800 chicks not hatching.

An EDDC spokesman said: “A cull of the protected seabirds is not an option, and the delegates were all impressed at the successes achieved in Seaton with egg replacement.”


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