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‘Vicious’ gulls cause fear for families living in Crossley Gardens, Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 June 2015 | UPDATED: 18:32 16 June 2015

A Herring Gull keeps guard on young on a rooftop in Crossley Gardens, Ipswich.

A Herring Gull keeps guard on young on a rooftop in Crossley Gardens, Ipswich.

Families have been left feeling hostage in their homes after being terrorised by a group of roof-nesting gulls for the second time.

Crossley Gardens residents Leslie Spink (L) and Peter Clarke in the Ipswich road where gulls have been attacking people.Crossley Gardens residents Leslie Spink (L) and Peter Clarke in the Ipswich road where gulls have been attacking people.

Last year, a postman refused to deliver to an area of Crossley Gardens, Ipswich, after he was attacked in the head by a swooping gull that had set-up nest on one of the homes.

The residents are now living in fear again as three lesser black-backed gull chicks have been hatched behind the chimney of another property.

Around five lesser black-backed and herring gulls have reportedly been flying around the nest, keeping watch of the chicks.

Kelly, whose home the first gulls nested on, said she put up spikes on her roof last April after a gull tried to attack one of her three young children in her back garden.

A lesser black backed gull with chicks on a rooftop in Crossley Gardens, Ipswich.A lesser black backed gull with chicks on a rooftop in Crossley Gardens, Ipswich.

However, around five weeks ago the new family of gulls nested just two houses along and Kelly said her family had again been targeted.

“It’s a nightmare,” she said. “My other half can’t go out of the house, he holds a stick in the air so they can’t get to his head.

“He works shifts so sometimes he gets back at two or three in the morning and they will still go for him then. They have actually managed to get lower and more vicious this year.”

Kelly, who is expecting another baby, said she had given up washing her car because of the bird mess.

Shaun Greene, who lives next to the property the birds are nesting on, said he couldn’t go in or out of his house without the gulls swooping down at him.

“On Saturday night, I didn’t see it but I heard them [the gulls] making noises and then I heard a woman screaming,” he added.

“It’s making me feel uncomfortable and I am worried as when my boy came to my house this Saturday he was scared.”

Mr Greene said he was concerned that when his two sons, aged 11 and 12, came to stay with him at the weekends they could potentially get hurt.

Leslie Spink, co-ordinator of the Neighbourhood Watch group in Crossley Gardens, said: “It was terrible last year, it’s not as bad this year but there were four of them yesterday in what I would call the attacking mood – anyone who walked along that part were liable of getting attacked.

“If we were on the seaside then yes you would expect it but we live around 12 miles from the sea and they still attack you, so it’s a bit much.”

Another resident, Peter Clarke, said he had not experienced any problems with the gulls, either this year or last year.

What the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says:

Gulls have always been a feature of coastal towns and villages, and since the 1940s some species have favoured roofs as nesting sites.

Despite populations of birds like herring and lesser black-backed gull increasing in urban areas, growing numbers in our communities belies the sad fact that many gull species are struggling to survive.

Of the seven species of gull which regularly breed in the UK, six are on the amber list of ‘Birds of Conservation Concern’. Herring gull populations are now so low that they are considered a red list species which means they are a priority for biodiversity conservation in England and Wales.

It is important that we make space for gulls within our communities, as we do many other wildlife species. Ways to ensure that we co-habit peacefully alongside each other can include reducing the availability of food both on the streets and at landfill sites, and we can ensure gulls don’t nest in inappropriate places by using physical barriers on flat roofs before the breeding season begins each year.

Gulls will only become aggressive towards people or pets when they feel their young are threatened, usually when a chick has left the nest, before it has fledged.


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