Gulls find new homes in town

HAVE you come under attack from low-flying gulls in Ipswich?

ARE there too many low-flying, noisy gulls in Ipswich?

And how should the town deal with the growing problems cause by the screeching creatures?

Experts have blamed the building work on the Waterfront for the increasing numbers of the huge seabirds and now residents are becoming so fed up that they're looking at ways to shut them up.

Gulls are covered by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and it is illegal to shoot them or interfere with their nests.

A spokesman for the borough said its environmental health officers had received no complaints about gulls - and it was unclear what action could be taken.

But there have been calls in some parts of the country for a cull of gulls - and a change in the law to allow the creatures to be shot. At present they can only be legally culled if a licence is issued by the government.

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However official advice from the RSPCA is that gulls and their nests should not be disturbed - although action can be taken to dissuade gulls from nesting - spikes on flat roofs manage to put off the birds!

Ian Barthorpe, RSPB Minsmere's marketing and publicity officer, said there has been a general increase in the birds, which are mostly Lesser Black-backed gulls and Herring gulls, coming into town centres due to the number of flat roofs, where they can nest, and the amount of food discarded on the street.

He said: “Gulls are moving into our towns mainly due to the availability of food and nest sites. Most buildings in town centres now have flat roofs. Increasingly the birds have been moving inland.

“The population is healthy in Ipswich. Maybe they are colonising in new sites. It could be down to all the work at the docks by the waterfront as that probably would have been their favourite site and now they have had to move away and look for alternative sites.

“Their young should have fledged by now but there may still be some around and that is why some are swooping at people and being noisy.”

Martin Baldry, of Geralds Avenue, near Foxhall Road, has noticed the increase in gulls and the additional noise. He said they can keep him awake all night.

He said: “It is the terrible noise they make all day and night, which is making me ill.

“The gulls are nesting on the roof of Jewsons in Foxhall Road. The noise they make is deafening. We have lived in Geralds Avenue for eight years and the problem has got worse each year.”

Should we be allowed to cull the gulls - visit the Star's webpoll at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Have you noticed more seagulls around? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

One of the largest colonies of Lesser Black-backed gulls and Herring gulls is in Orford Ness, Suffolk, although the population there has started to decline

The Lesser Black-backed gulls are used to breeding on coastal grassy slopes (flat and unbroken)

The birds are both opportunistic feeders that forage extensively at sea

There is thought to be 139,309 pairs of Herring gulls and 112,074 pairs of Lesser Black-backed gulls that breed in the UK every year

The birds usually leave their breeding sites in July and August