South Scotland MSP Emma Harper, following contact from various constituents and community councils in Dumfries, has called on Dumfries and Galloway Council to issue pre-emptive advice to local residents on how best to deal with problem gulls, particularly as we are now entering the breeding season.
Ms Harper has said that “Dumfries has had more than its fair share of dive bombing avian inhabitants” and that Dumfries and Galloway Council must be “pre-emptive in the advice and support they are providing to residents impacted by aggressive gull behaviour, particularly as we are moving into breeding season.” There is no doubt that gulls continue to create real misery for many people whether that’s through noise or aggressive behaviour by parent birds protecting their young. Dumfries experiences higher levels of menacing gulls than other parts of Scotland, with over 830 nesting pairs recorded in the town alone in 2022 which resulted in over 2,662 eggs being removed.
In 2022, Dumfries and Galloway Council committed £83,500 to remove eggs and disrupt nesting gulls, which Ms Harper has welcomed. However, the South Scotland MSP is voicing the concerns of her constituents by saying that little advice has been given by the local authority regarding what people should do, should they encounter an aggressive, breeding gull, particularly if swooped at or if the troublesome gulls takes up residence at their home.
Commenting, Ms Harper said:
“There is no doubt that gulls continue to create real misery for many people whether that’s through noise or aggressive behaviour by parent birds protecting their young. Being swooped or attacked by a gull, or having a gull take up residence at your home, can be a frightening experience for adults, weans and our older population – one reported incident last year occurred when an older person was attacked by a gull in Dumfries town centre and ended up in hospital.
“Year after year, every summer, I am inundated with constituents complaining about the blight of gulls. Pre-emptive advice and support must be provided, by the council, to residents impacted by aggressive gull behaviour, particularly as we are entering breeding season. This advice should include how to prevent attack and what to do if someone has the misfortune of encountering an aggressive gull. While it is welcome that the council spent £83,500 in trying to address the higher levels of gulls we experience across Dumfries, constituents do tell me that this funding is not being backed up with public information for local residents – I therefore call on the local authority to give this advice.
“In the meantime, I would encourage people to ensure that litter is being disposed of properly, to not feed the gulls and to report any nests immediately to Dumfries and Galloway Council.”