Herring gull deterrent

Hi, for the last few years herring gulls have nested on a neighbour's roof. They're a bit noisy at times, but I've enjoyed watching the upung hatchlings growing! This year, he seems to have had enough and invested in one of those deterrents that's basically like a hawk-shaped kite on a fishing rod and put that in his garden. Unfortunately/ fortunately the gulls seemed unphased and still built their nest in the normal spot. However, he's now put up an additional kite thing on the other side of his house, which at times almost lands in the best. Whilst the gulls haven't been completely put off, they do seem to keep away more often when this one's up (he seems to be often taking the kites down and moving them and putting them back up again). I do think there may be eggs in the nest and worry that he's keeping the gulls off their eggs. What I want to know is this- is he breaking any laws or anything? It just seems ethically wrong to keep the gulls off their eggs! Aren't herring gulls a protected specie?
  • I would think that if there are eggs in a nest anyone trying to distract the parents from getting to it would be illegal, it is the same as it is illegal to interfere with any nest, from when they start to build.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Hi Carly,

    How upsetting that must be for you. You are right, herring gulls are threatened (Red status). However it appears that there is some debate as to how this protection will be afforded due to considerations about public health. The RSPB issues advice here: www.rspb.org.uk/.../urbangulls.aspx. Now if you notice in the last paragraph there is reference to making nesting sites inaccessible in urban environments. I suppose your neighbour is acting in line with this.

    I really don't understand why people are so cruel to wildlife, I've been in places where feeding Herring gulls is attracting hefty fines (eg Conway, believe it or not). Such a shame ..

    The only other thing I would suggest is if there is any way you could check if there are eggs in the nest. If so, contact the RSPB and see what advice they will offer. If there are no eggs the kites may just prompt the gulls to look for a more welcoming nest location.

    My Gallery

    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Thanks. The gulls were sat on the nest for a couple of days and ignoring the kites after I posted my original post. So I'm pretty sure there are eggs (can't get close enough to see unfortunately though). However, the neighbour moved the position of one of his kites so that it is directly over the nest (about a foot or so from it), and not surprisingly the birds now seem to have left. How long would eggs survive without incubation? I have a nasty feeling it's probably too late now

  • In reply to Carly D:

    Such a shame if there were eggs indeed. However one thing I find surprising is that herring gulls would back off to kites if they are protecting eggs. Smaller birds (like song birds) seem to 'attack' bigger birds to protect nests and I've seen oystercatchers attacking skuas. Black headed gulls chase herons (so do coots and so on). Now herring gull is a pretty sizeable predator ... would they not at least try to defend the nest - and in so doing, would they not realise they are dealing with an artefact? Not sure, maybe somebody who knows more can throw some light on this issue.

    My Gallery

    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir