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Review of Urban Gulls and their Management in Scotland

DescriptionThis report looks at the ecology of urban gulls in Scotland, the problems they cause, and management solutions.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMay 18, 2006


ISBN 0 7559 6075 0

(Research contract ENV/BTO/001/04)
A report to the Scottish Executive

Calladine 1, J.R., Park 2, K.J, Thompson 3, K. & Wernham 1, C.V
1BTO Scotland & 2Centre for Conservation Science School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling. FK9 4LA; 3Independent consultant
(E-mail: chris.wernham@bto.org )

May 2006

This document is also available in pdf format (940k)


Executive Summary


1 Introduction and background to the project
1.1 The need for the project
1.2 Aims of the project
1.3 Expertise of contractors
1.3.1 BTO Scotland
1.3.2 Centre for Conservation Science
1.3.3 Dr Kate Thompson

2 Research methods
2.1 Literature searching
2.2 Consultations
2.3 Questionnaire survey of Local Authorities in Scotland
2.3.1 Aims
2.3.2 Design
2.3.3 Recipients
2.3.4 Content
2.4 Gulls at airports

3 Local Authority perceptions and knowledge of urban gulls in Scotland
3.1 The extent of the problem in Scotland
3.2 Size and trends in urban gull populations
3.3 Reported problems associated with urban gulls
3.4 Mitigation measures used by Local Authorities and perceived effectiveness
3.5 Waste strategies
3.6 Legislation and powers
3.7 Other suggestions from Local Authorities regarding solutions
3.8 Gull mitigation measures undertaken by Wellpark Action Group
3.9 Costs of urban gull problems to Local Authorities

4 Numbers, trends in numbers and status of gulls in Scotland
4.1 Background ecology and sources of information
4.1.1 Breeding season
General ecology
Surveys, survey methods and limitations
Missing and negative data
Timing of counts
Visibility of nests
Counts based on individual birds
Derivation of trends
4.1.2 Outside the breeding season
General ecology
Surveys, survey methods and limitations
Derivation of trends
4.1.3 Questionnaire survey
4.2 Species accounts
4.2.1 Black-headed Gull
4.2.2 Common Gull
4.2.3 Lesser Black-backed Gull
4.2.4 Herring Gull
4.2.5 Great Black-backed Gull
4.2.6 Kittiwake

5 Ecology of gulls in urban areas
5.1 Exchange between urban areas and the wider countryside
5.2 Breeding success
5.3 Survival rates
5.4 Recruitment
5.5 Food and foraging behaviour
5.6 Nest site selection and predation pressure
5.7 General causes of changes in gull populations

6 Methods for controlling urban gull populations
6.1 Non-lethal disturbance methods
6.1.1 Broadcasting sounds
6.1.2 Use of birds of prey
6.1.3 Human disturbance
6.2 Manipulation of nesting areas
6.2.1 Methods for preventing access, landing or nesting
6.2.2 Manipulation of nesting substrates
6.2.3 Creation of alternative nesting areas
6.3 Manipulation of food sources
6.4 Restriction of breeding success
6.4.1 Treatment or removal of eggs or nests
6.4.2 Introduction of predators
6.4.3 Contraception
6.5 Removal of adult birds
6.5.1 Use of narcotics
6.5.2 Shooting

7 Review of the legislation surrounding control of urban gulls
7.1 Legislation to protect wild birds in Scotland
7.1.1 General Licences
7.1.2 Specific Licences
7.2 Legislation surrounding littering and waste
7.2.1 Environmental Protection Act 1990 (c. 43)
Part III Statutory nuisances and Clean Air
Part II Waste on Land
Part IV Litter and related issues
7.2.2 Environment Act 1995 (c. 25)
7.2.3 Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004
7.2.4 The Street Litter Control Notices Order 1991
7.2.5 Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
7.2.6 The Landfill Directive 1993/31/EC
7.3 Legislation surrounding planning and building
7.4 Public health legislation issues
7.5 Gulls, Management Rules and Bye Laws

8 Best practice recommendations for mitigating problems involving urban gull colonies
8.1 Current limitations on the provision of best practice guidance
8.2 Guidance for Local Authorities on mitigation techniques
8.3 Future research suggestions


Appendix 1a Questionnaire survey for Local Authorities
Appendix 1b Covering letter for Local Authorities