Winged menace: Gulls swoop on Bristol diners
By The Bristol Post | Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 05:00
A BRISTOL resident has written an open letter to the city council urging it to do more about the city's growing seagull problem.
Reader Julie Wall's photographs show the moment four seagulls swooped on a customer's burger and chips at a harbourside bar
In her letter, Kathy Crossthwaite calls on the council to raise awareness of the issue and encourage the public to report nests which can be targeted.
It comes as Bristol Post reader Julie Wall captured these dramatic pictures of seagulls swooping on unattended food at a table outside harbourside sports bar BSB.
Four birds swooped on a customer's burger and chips moments after they got up to order a drink from the bar at the waterfront restaurant.
There have been calls by councillors in Keynsham for a conference on gulls and their effect on the area – but the city council denies that the problem is growing and says a population control programme is underway.
The local authority said complaints had not peaked and staff were replacing gulls' eggs with dummy eggs in known nesting spots across the city.
Ms Crossthwaite, from Clifton, believes the problem has got out of hand and has contacted the council's pest and noise control departments.
She said: "I have lived in central Bristol since 1967, when there were no seagulls living in the city. There are now flocks of them around Clifton, Hotwells and Cliftonwood.
"I would suggest the city council increases its publicity about the growing seagull population and makes residents aware about the egg replacement scheme, so people can be vigilant and report nests to the council more frequently."
Bonnie Clements, another Clifton resident, said: "I do think the council needs to address the nuisance they seem to be.
"They tear open bins, which leaves rubbish all over the pavements and attracts even more of them."
Council spokesman Tim Borrett said: "We're in year eight of a ten-year programme to control numbers of the protected herring gull, which is illegal to cull but can be controlled to some degree by replacing eggs in nests with dummy versions.
"To date, around 10,000 eggs have been replaced throughout the life of the programme. There is a practical limit to where we can access and how much time, money and resource can be spent, particularly when the species is protected and our pest control team needs to focus its resources on clear public health risks.
"We'd ask the public to help tackle the problem by not feeding gulls, being careful to bin their leftovers and taking care to store their rubbish correctly in suitably sturdy bags.
"Ultimately this is a harbourside city, which will attract gulls, but together we can all do our bit to discourage them."