While the urban (aka sea) gull issue is ruffling local authority feathers – as political groups clash over who is doing most to rid the streets of Bath of this squawking ‘menace’ – l witnessed this morning the human implications resulting from these gregarious creatures having taken up squatting rights on the rooftops of our World Heritage city.
In Northumberland Passage – one of Bath’s intimate and quaint little lanes – cafe manager Kim Wheeler had to break off from serving customers within Roscoff Deli to go out and throw hot water over the white umbrellas normally shading those who prefer to drink their strong Italian brew ‘plein-air’ from rain or sun.
Today they were acting as shields from the ‘fall-out’ – quite literally – from roosting rooftop gulls who just happen to always place their rear end – and not the beaky bit – over the parapet edge.
While Kim was dealing with the mess, along came one of those Council motor-driven, hand-held sweepers which appeared to spew out warm water over patches of gull mess on the paving stones.
However, it is a lone operator fighting a losing battle in one little paved corner of the great Gull Empire and how do you get at the walls, windows and business signs that are daily being splattered?
I have a feeling all wildlife is basically protected from trigger fingered retaliation but quickly got lost on the Defra site in trying to find which species might be an exception to the rule. Perhaps some helpful and knowledgeable individual will set me straight on this. Mind you, try explaining the rules of protection to the badgers who are currently being picked off by shotgun down in Somerset.
From the gull’s point of view there is, of course, nothing personal in this. It’s just us humans thinking the world and its other creatures are against us. Anyone would think we were messing up the place!!??
Put yourself in the gull’s place. Why spend your time on a cold and wind-swept, cliff-edge nest when you can set up shop on a warm rooftop in the heart of a city full of dirty humans daily sprinkling the streets with all the food necessary for our urban gull colony to enjoy and thrive.
There is the added bonus of no predators to worry about and lots of rubbish dumps within a 20 mile radius to stock up on supplies when necessary.
Come on Bath landlords. Let’s at least see some joint action in putting sufficient roof top bird spikes along the parapet edges to at least protect the folk eating or drinking below.
The Council is already trying decoy eggs for nests and deterrent jelly – that smells like the building is on fire – for ledges – but this has to be a joint thing. We must clean up our act.
Do you know l found out this morning where Bath’s gulls go in the winter. Sunny Portugal! Yes they actually do leave us for warmer climes.
So – you are asking – what about the gulls you see here during those dark dreary months that most of us poor wingless humans have to endure? Well they are not the same gulls it seems. We get a whole new flock flying south from Scandinavia to spend Christmas with us!
I feel so strongly about the seagull problem and have now tweeted the article you did after this one, i.e. today’s.
http://www.FACEBOOK.com/BathWithSally.CitySecrets Sally Helvey – 07836 25 25 69 …& follow the crowd to Bath’s ClevelandPools.org.uk
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