Give the gulls the bird

seagullsNot every bird joining in Bath’s dawn chorus is getting a big welcome as spring approaches.

The majority of urban gulls return to the Bath area around now, and this year Bath & North East Somerset Council is giving advice to encourage everyone to take early action to reduce the problems gulls can cause with street mess and noise.seagulls

Gulls are attracted to areas where there is plenty of food and where there are attractive nesting sites, so there are things we can all do to help tackle this problem at home and at work.

Last year the Council issued re-usable canvas type ‘gull resistant’ rubbish bags to nearly 5,000 households in Bath, in areas where storage is a problem or there are particular problems with litter. Residents are using these bags to contain their black plastic rubbish sacks.

So far these have been successful in reducing scavenging by gulls and have proved popular with residents. If you are not living in a street where we have issued these, then we would advise you to buy a normal plastic or metal dustbin to put your black sacks in.

Don't feed the gulls notices on street litter bins.

Don’t feed the gulls notices on street litter bins.

The posters we put on litter bins last year gave a clear message to encourage visitors to Bath not to feed the gulls and residents can download our Don’t feed the gulls advice leaflet via: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/dontfeedthegulls or pick one up from our One Stop Shops.seagulls

Last year businesses were visited by Council officers to encourage them to use bins or business specific gull resistant sacks instead of plastic bags for their waste and to ensure they put out their waste at the correct times. Posters and leaflets for businesses can be downloaded http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/dontfeedthegulls We offer a nest removal/ egg replacement service to commercial premises other than those with easily accessible roofs. We hope to build on this service this year.

Developers and architects locally can use our helpful guide with practical advice to help stop urban gulls from nesting on your roof. Getting the design of a roof right at the outset can help prevent future problems. The guide is available from our website www.bathnes.gov.uk/dontfeedthegulls.

Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “The most important action that residents can take is to use your recycling and rubbish collection services correctly, especially your food waste recycling collection. By putting all food you throw away into your lockable food bin, you will reduce the food supply to gulls and other animals. It is important to remember to lock your bin by pulling the handle forward.”

Our other top tips include:

· Don’t put food waste in rubbish sacks as gulls will rip these open easily.

· Buy a dustbin and use it if you have room.

· Put out your recycling and rubbish by 7am on your collection day, or after 8pm the night before. The closer to 7am you put it out the better, leaving less time for scavenging.

· Don’t feed birds in parks, open spaces or the street.

· Protect against gulls nesting on your home. If you find they have nested on your roof contact our Pest Control Service on 01225 396007. They can visit your home to offer advice, and if your roof is considered suitable, can offer you ‘dummy’ eggs at cost price.

· Make sure you use the litter and recycling bins when out and about.

· If you spot gulls attacking waste and making a mess report it to Council Connect via Twitter @ccbathnes, online at http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/reportit or by calling 01225 394041.