What the law states
Herring Gulls and feral pigeons are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Birds cannot be taken or their eggs or nests destroyed unless there is a serious hazard to public health, and such cases are rare. Less serious but still annoying issues such as fouling or noise nuisance can lead to calls for a cull. It is however generally acknowledged that culling is ineffective as outside populations of birds soon move in to fill the vacuum left by culling.
Prevention is better than such drastic cures.
This means encouraging gulls back to the cliffs and away from residential areas or public places by storing refuse safely, and denying them food and perching space.
How does this affect me
Whilst there is no law against feeding gulls or pigeons, Torbay Council strongly recommends that people avoid doing this:
- Spilled or untouched food can attract vermin, which contravenes the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949
- Rats will attack birds and their young feeding on the ground
- Birds are being attracted from natural food, which is more nutritious
- Spilled food encourages mould and algae which are harmful to birds
- Feeding gulls can attract more birds and cause an annoyance to neighbours
- Regular feeding can lead to dependence and tamenss, which is dangerous for wild animals
Bird proofing your property
Pest control companies and specialist bird proofers offer an arsenal of deterrent measures to stop gulls perching or nesting on ledges and roofs. TOR2 offers a service to deter birds nesting or becoming a nuisance at domestic and commercial premises.