Are Seagulls Becoming a Big Problem in the UK?

If you feel like you can’t go anywhere without seeing a seagull, you’re not imagining it. As food sources become more plentiful and there are ever more places to nest, seagulls are flocking to urban areas. But are seagulls becoming a big problem in the UK?

Seagulls are Thriving in Urban Areas

Coastal populations of gulls are in decline. According to the RSPB, each of the seven species of seagulls that are native to the UK are a cause for concern in conservation terms.

However in urban areas, it’s a different story. According to a former professor of Zoology at Durham University, the number of urban sites with more than 100 nests of gulls has increased by around 4% each year between 1939 and 2000. There are more gulls and they are living closer to us. This is where the problems start.

Why are Seagulls Considered Pests?

We’ve all seen the funny videos of gulls going into Gregg’s. But gulls do more than steal your food. Here are the problems associated with seagulls in urban areas.

· They carry and transmit diseases like salmonella, Cryptococcosis, and E. coli which are spread through their droppings. Worryingly, research has found that their droppings may even contain antibiotic resistant bacteria.

· They are messy. Bird droppings will really ruin the look of a building and its surroundings. Not only that, they can make pavements slippery. Oh, and did we mention that their droppings are high in uric acid which can corrode buildings, vehicles, and machinery over time?

· They are aggressive. We’ve all seen the headlines about seagull attacks and this is one of the most commonly reported seagull problems. Gull attacks peak between the end of May and August. This coincides with the birth of new chicks. Adult gulls are very protective of their young. Gulls will swoop to defend their chicks and while physical attacks are rare, they do happen. One pub in Aberdeen with an outdoor eating area had to resort to giving customers water pistols to scare away swooping and scavenging gulls!

Gull Control-How Can You Prevent Seagull Problems?

Gulls can be a serious nuisance, but before you do anything drastic, there’s something you need to be aware of. Seagulls, like all birds in the UK, are protected by law. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it illegal to harm or kill a seagull or destroy its nest without a licence. There are very limited circumstances where you can use lethal bird control to get rid of gulls but you will always have to prove that you’ve tried everything else first.

When it comes to controlling seagulls successfully, here’s what actually works;

Spikes and netting

When applied to ledges, roofs, and canopies, these can make buildings uninhabitable for gulls.


Bird wire is a very effective bird proofing method that stops gulls landing on your building. Even better, it’s very discreet if you’re worried about the effect it will have on building aesthetics.

Bird gels

Fire gel looks like fire to a bird flying above and the bird will think it’s unsafe to land on your building. This is an effective, long-lasting deterrent that causes no harm to birds.

Bird scarers

Bird scarers use methods like electric deterrents, acoustic deterrents, and lasers to keep nuisance birds away from your building.

Falconry bird control

Seeing a bird of prey flying around plays on a bird’s natural fear of predators. If a gull sees a falcon or hawk flying around your building, it won’t be a safe or desirable place to land or nest.

Are You Struggling with a Seagull Problem?

Seagull problems on and around your property are not only a nuisance, they’re a risk to health and safety, and they can cause costly property damage. That’s why you need to act fast to control the problem.

Contego is known as one of the leading specialist bird control companies in the UK. We’ve controlled pest birds on behalf of clients in locations such as international stadiums, supermarkets, railway platforms, and power stations. No bird control issue is too big or too complex.

Need help with pest birds?

Call Contego.

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