Explosion In Gull Population In Kirkcudbright Is Having Serious Impact On Local People

Urgent action is being demanded to tackle the growing menace caused by the explosion in seagull numbers in Kirkcudbright.


In scenes similar to those from the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds” – residents and their pets are being repeatedly divebombed while there are also health fears over the amount of bird droppings.


Many locals insist their mental health also is being affected by being regularly woken in the early hours by the shrieking noise from the gulls.


Now Finlay Carson, MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, and local councillor Pauline Drysdale are leading demands for immediate action to halt the misery being caused.


He admitted gulls and coastal towns tend to go hand in hand but the situation has definitely got out of control.


He said: “While it is something that people just have to accept that gulls are very much part of the natural environment here in the south west – and with that comes acceptance that the odd ice cream or fish supper may be snatched from time to time.
“However we are talking about residential areas where the mental health of many people and their wellbeing is now being hugely affected.”


The Scottish Conservative MSP stressed immediate action was now needed to try and tackle this alarming problem.


He added: “There are actions that can be taken to encourage gulls not to next in these areas and we need to explore this as soon as possible.”


Councillor Pauline Drysdale warned seagull numbers in Kirkcudbright have increased dramatically in the last few months following the nesting season.


And the explosion in the gull population has impacted on many residents living in Millburn Street, Buchanan Street and surrounding area who are often rudely awakened in the early hours by screeching sounds.


It has also resulted in an increase in the number of attacks on people and their pets from swooping birds.


Councillor Drysdale said: “The council agreed last September to recruit a gull officer before the start of the breeding season.
“Unfortunately this didn’t happen because of the Covid pandemic and other circumstances – although I am hopeful that someone will be in place by September.
“In the meantime, other action needs to be taken to prevent and avoid further gull issues within the town, such as installing roof spikes.”


The local councillor explained seagull nests and eggs are protected under current laws.


However the NatureScot Licensing Guide does allow action should communities suffer tremendous stress as is currently being experienced in Kirkcudbright.


She said: “A licence can be granted to protect public health and safety and I have already spoken to senior officials at Dumfries and Galloway Council to look into this as a matter of urgency.”


Local resident Margaret Maxwell stressed there had always been a serious problem surrounding seagulls.


But she revealed the issue has now escalated to such an extent that they are taking over the town.


Margaret said: “This year in particular has been extremely difficult and stressful with noise, guano and attacks from above.
“It is clear that the council needs to put a plan in place to deal with this every growing problem.
“They tell us these birds are protected but what about the residents’ protection?”
She urged people to stop feeding them as this was only adding further to the problem and the risk of more attacks.  “Little birds don’t eat bread, just nuts and seeds, so any bread that is being put out is only feeding the problem.”

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