What you need to know about seagulls
Seagulls are a common pest that professional pest controllers deal with on a regular basis. Although you would think they are a bird confined to coastal areas, the seagull is just as happy living in cities and towns. We take a look at some interesting and useful seagull facts.
- Genus: Larus
- Class: Aves
- Family: Laridae
Seagull is a layman term, with ornithologist using the term Gull followed by their specific species or name. There are many different varieties and species.
Origins of the seagull
The seagull is a bird found on every continent, with different species found in different areas that have specifically adapted to the terrain. Known as ‘generalist feeders’ the seagull we know in the UK has adapted as civilisation has changed to scrounge food for in town and city centres, or anywhere in fact.
It is difficult to tell the difference between a male and female seagull. The male tends to have brighter, more colourful plumage but the difference is so subtle, that only experienced bird watchers can tell the gender of a gull.
Although seabirds, the seagull has learnt to adapt over the centuries to take advantage of what the built environment offers them. Most species come into land to nest but where they choose to nest has changed. Making a nest on rooftops and in chimney pots is preferable to precarious clifftops and the like and, as we have come to realise, the closer to food sources the better.
Seagulls are known to be responsible for E-coli contamination, a pathogen injurious to human health. They are also known carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Many local authorities and town councils have banned the feeding of gulls in a bid to reduce the nuisance level but from a health and safety point of view, cuts from the sharp beak of a seagull could cause you to become ill.
With such an abundance of food, seagulls can live upward of 15 years. However, busy roads can lead to the untimely demise of many gulls, especially their flightless young.
Seagulls mate for life and will be productive breeders during the mating season that begins in early February. They lay an average clutch of three eggs, usually around April and May. Their young will appear within weeks, making early summer the time that many people can feel under siege from the dive bombing antics of protective parent seagulls.
Interesting seagull facts
- Seagulls are intelligent birds. They not only learn behaviour that proves successful but will educate their young to do so too, especially when it comes to food sources.
- These birds make great parents who are attentive and protective of their young. Both the males and female mating pair taking turns to incubate the eggs.
- They have a complex system of communication, with a number of known calls that convey important information from one to the other. They also use body movements as a form of communication too.
- Young seagulls play with each other too, just as children learn to do at nursery.
What to do if you have a seagull problem
Seagulls nesting near or on a property can present both a high nuisance factor, as well as a health and safety issue. Their droppings can also damage buildings, as can nesting on a property.
The only solution is to contact a professional pest control company who will deal with the problem. This could be nest removal, as well as bird proofing measures to prevent future problems with gulls and other nuisance birds, too.