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RSPB Scotland welcomes new gull guide

Last modified: 13 August 2015

Herring gull

Image: Grahame Madge

RSPB Scotland has welcomed the release of Aberdeen City Council’s new leaflet “Living with Urban Gulls: Survivors Guide”.

The publication follows a similar one released by Aberdeenshire Council in January this year and outlines methods to reduce conflict between people and roof-nesting gulls.

Ian Francis, RSPB Scotland’s Conservation Manager for East Scotland said: “The ‘seagulls’ that nest in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire towns are mostly herring gulls. These large gulls traditionally nest along cliffs and feed on crabs and other crustaceans.

While, the numbers of roof-nesting gulls has increased in recent decades, their coastal counterparts have suffered huge declines. The overall declines in numbers have been so severe – more than 50% of all herring gulls in less than 30 years – that these gulls are now red-listed, a category reserved for species of the highest conservation priority that are in need of urgent action.

And this is the dilemma. City-dwelling gulls can come in to conflict with people, particularly during the breeding season because these gulls are fiercely protective parents. No one wants to be on the receiving end of the birds’ attentions, but at the same time it’s really important that we don’t put further pressure on the overall numbers.

There are things we can do to reduce conflict and we welcome the calm approach and advice from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils in trying to help people learn to live with gulls.

We now need to look not only at management of the birds in urban areas, but also how we can best look after our wider marine environment to support healthy seabird populations. Delivering measures such as a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas will be a vital part of the solution.”

How you can help

Current proposals to create marine protected areas in the waters of each country offer almost no protection for seabirds. With the support of people like you, we can continue to fight for better protection for our seas.