The beautiful couple seagulls

Dear Experts/Dear nature lovers, I am writing from Istanbul Turkey. As I was searching for a solution to our problem I saw your site. I believe to get good source of information. We live very close by the beautiful Bosphorus of Istanbul. We have naturally seagulls around and on many roofs they have their nests. Six years ago, on a heavy snowy day we saw two Seagulls on our windowsill, felt sorry and gave a piece of bread.. They returned.. And returned.. Continued with small fish by hand actually, and now every day we give them chicken liver which is cheaper than fish.. almost 1 kg. per day. We wrapped ourselves around this circle and maybe caused harm for the gulls. Because they only eat what we give them.. Liver.! No any other natural source. We went maybe too far to even name them; "Charlie & Tango" it is a couple.! We would like to stop feeding them, but, we just don't know how.. They come two, three times a day and take big chunks of liver. They only have to fly a couple of meters to get food from us, just to the chimney of the house in front. We went abroad for a few days and our concierge told us when we came back, they did not move an inch from our windowsill. They slept there day and night. The more we read the more knowledgeable we get about feeding gulls. Even all birds.. They need to find their own. But, than why are they hungry all the time? In winter they can't find food easily, no? Sometimes, I try to take a break like one day, but, they just don't leave our windowsill, it hurts us to watch them waiting and waiting. We come back from work, they just sit there.. We want to take the opportunity of summer time and stop feeding our Seagull couple. Prepare them for winter. Can you please tell us, how we do this? I mean, now that they completely forgot to find food for themselves. Getting food from us has become their natural habit.. Can they regain this natural ability that they were thought by their parents? I really feel guilty. Also, for the last two years our couple didn't have chicks (they tried really hard loud and clear) that they used to before, when we fed them with more fish. Could this be related to one type of food, liver? Since they eat sea food.. We will not let them starve if finding food on their own is a history because of us.. But, we would like them go back to their natural habits.. If they can.. Looking forward to your reply.
  • Hello Soley and welcome from me in Great Britain, from the very top of Scotland. I am sorry no one has answered your question to give you any advice. I am afraid I do not know what to say, but hopefully someone will. You seem to have two friends there in Charlie and Tango. It does not take long for some species to become quite tame and to know who will look after them.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Hello Catlady,

    Thank you so much for your warm welcome and it is so kind of you to write to my post.. you put a smile on face:) How did you feel that I have been checking if any message came in all day long today (except sleeping hours last night:)? I have been sitting on my computer for answers.. Since this morning, our Seagull couple came already three times.. and I fed them with quilt. I just don't know what to do.. they are like domestic animals now, like cats & dogs. If we don't give they shout (don't know correct word) so loud that the whole neighborhood goes on alarm.. They peak inside the house searching for us.. But, they have been never violent from day one.. Charlie is so gentile when taking food from our hands not to hurt us.. I am also very concern that we are disturbing people around.. If they just knew that this was not what we wanted.. Please help us.. If you have no answers, can you please help me to get connected with Seagull specialists around the world? If we pass summer than it will be harder on them to enter winter if we don't serve. Thank you.

  • In reply to Soley:

    I think all you can do is to gradually reduce the amount and number of feeds you are giving them. I would continue to feed them once in the morning for now but start reducing the other feeds. They will protest at first but you'll have to be strict and ignore them - they only do this because they have learned that making a fuss will encourage you to feed them.

    Gulls are very clever and resourceful birds, they have good memories, learn from each other's behaviour, and are inventive and adaptable. So they are very good at finding food in a whole variety of ways (including persuading humans to feed them!). These two will not have forgotten how to find natural food, and when they realise that you are not going to give them as much food any more they will start to look for other options.

    My blog: http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/

    My Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124028194@N04/

  • In reply to aiki:

    Thank you so much for your good advice. I try this from time to time, but, they beat me each time. I guess, six years is too long to get food on the same spot "our windowsill". I am just afraid that they will starve to death or get very weak. When we went on a holiday some years ago, it was just the beginning our relationship with them, they sat on the windowsill for days without eating. We were hoping than that they would give up on us. But, they did not.

    We also have three rescued cats living with us. So each time, Charlie & Tango come, I put the kitties in the back room so there is no risk for the Seagulls and for the kitties jumping on the window. We are on the high floor.

    Any idea how long they can go without eating?

    Many thanks again for the input:)

    *** By the way, I love your photos.!! Super job.

  • In reply to Soley:

    Hi, Charlie and Tango are making big fuss as said on the roof of the house just in front of us. My heart melts but I am keeping cool. I feed them once a day... I would love to share more photos with you all. Just don't know how to create a link..

  • In reply to Soley:

    You are doing well! They will start to look elsewhere for food soon, I am sure.

    If you go to this link: www.rspb.org.uk/.../108794.aspx there are instructions for how to post photos. It would be good to see Tango and Charlie, and I'd love to see your cats as well!

    I grew up by the seaside, with lots of gulls around including a pair nesting on our roof. We had cats, but the cats were scared of the gulls, because sometimes the gulls would dive-bomb them (especially during the breeding season). Our youngest cat Sam was their favourite target - he was a big and usually fearless cat but he'd always rush indoors when the gulls started flying over.

    My blog: http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/

    My Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124028194@N04/

  • In reply to aiki:

    You are so nice, thank you so much. I will try the link later as I have to rush out now.

    Our cats are not scared at all:) They jump up to the window so we always have to keep it closed (we have screens for summer). Charlie is a big boy but afraid of our kities. I will keep my attitude with them, as much as I am melting inside. "Six years" was a long time to have them. They are like pets now. I wish, I could see them getting food in another place.. I will keep you posted.

    Talk soon.

    S.

  • In reply to Soley:

    Hello, not yet I was able to load photos:) but, wanted to update.. Charlie and Tango are still coming a few times a day, right now it is 11 p.m and they are screaming on my window. In fact he is quite angry marching back and forth like a soldier on the windowsill. It used to be cute but no more since I want to send them back to the nature. I am going in the back room so I don't get see them though. Very upsetting.. They are innocent.. I am feeding once every morning still.. how long do you all think this is going to go like this? I am being strong but so difficult.

  • In reply to Soley:

    Good evening Soley, you seem to be struggling with your feathered friends, but from what I gather the advice seems to be good. It has been many years now that you have fed them a few times a day, but weaning them away from that will be for the best and hopefully it will not be too long before they realise that and go and search food for themselves. Hard as it must be for you, stick in there. All the best

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Thank you so much Catlady. These little beauties are like dogs and cats.. They listen and look at my face so closely. Incredible.! I never thought I would get this close to wild birds. They have long and strong beak but they take the food so gentle off my hand. They are so kind.. Their place is nature I know but humans are killing it slowly. There are so much cast nets in the Bosphorus and Black Sea. Maybe they find no food because of that. I take the advice of you dear members of this beautiful society. Just so hard to have the eye contact with them and turn my back.. I will have to stay strong.. I am biting my tongue..