Gulls

Many people who have gulls on their property find they cause a nuisance.

To report a gull nest complete our contact us form.

Although we have no statutory duty to take action against gulls, since 2007, the council put in place a stakeholder forum to annually review the situation with nesting gulls in Hereford. This forum includes the public, Herefordshire Council members, Hereford City members, as well as businesses and experts in the control of birds. This forum annually reviews the effectiveness of control measures deployed and considers the various measures for controlling gulls available within the constraints of a government licence, the main ones being egg removal, nest removal, proofing and education.

Currently, the egg and nest removal service runs from April/May to August/September every year, at two-weekly intervals by two contractors working in a van with a lifting platform. At present, this service is free to all, provided that the roof is accessible, roof permission is granted in writing, and the work can be done in less than one hour.

Please note we cannot touch live birds/chicks; they are classed as wild birds and are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Once adult gulls start ‘dive-bombing’ we are unable to intervene as this indicates there are chicks in the nest, so we advise you contact us as soon as you see the gulls beginning to nest.

Please note we cannot touch live birds/chicks and can only accept reports of nests on your own property because we will need written permission to access the rooftop to remove eggs and nests.

Prevention methods

You can help prevent gull activity on your property by:

  • Removing any possible food sources including fallen fruit, animal feed and accessible household waste
  • Keeping your rubbish in bins until the day of collection wherever practical
  • Making sure your bins have secured lids
  • Using special bird feeders rather than putting food on the floor
  • Not feeding your dogs and cats outdoors
  • Picking up and disposing of any litter outside your property
  • Clearing any undergrowth from your garden to remove possible nesting places
  • Not putting any meats, bread or cooked food on a compost heap as this will attract vermin into your garden. Where possible secure fine grade wire meshing around and underneath your compost heap.
  • Commercial properties should keep the streets at the front and back of the premises free of litter and black rubbish bags

Legislation: gull control

The principal legislation dealing with the control of birds is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Generally, it is illegal to capture, injure or destroy any wild bird or interfere with its nest or eggs. The penalties for disregarding the law can be severe.

If you want to feed birds without encouraging gulls:

  • Only put out bird food from November to May, as there is nearly always enough natural food available the rest of the year
  • Put food in wire baskets or under a roofed bird table so that only small birds can get it
  • Put out small amounts of food frequently rather than large amounts at a time

Specialist companies can protect your building from gulls by installing wires or spikes on chimney pots and other rooftop features.