Taking action against gulls in Worcester

A new campaign aimed at encouraging everyone in Worcester to do their bit to deal with problems caused by gulls in the city has been launched.

Worcester City Council is working with partners including Worcestershire Regulatory Services and Worcester BID (Business Improvement District) to raise awareness of actions we can all take to limit the nuisance caused by gulls in the city.

Advice leaflets, posters, signs on litter bins, radio adverts, tips for businesses and more are all being used in a focussed attempt to encourage Worcester’s residents and employers to do what they can to reduce the impact of urban gulls in the city.

Cllr Joy Squires, Chair of the City Council’s Environment Committee, said: “Gulls can create problems for all of us in Worcester. They scavenge food, spread their droppings on our buildings and pavements, and they can be very noisy.

“There is no easy, single solution to the problem, but if we all take a few simple actions, we can help to reduce the nuisance and problems they cause.”

Cllr Alan Feeney, Vice Chair of the Committee, said: “Gulls are opportunist scavengers. We can all play a part in tackling the problems they cause and one of the simplest ways is to make sure we dispose of left-over food responsibly. Remember – feed the bins, not the gulls.”

Posters and leaflets with the catch-phrase “Feed the bins, not the gulls” are going up around the city, encouraging everyone to make sure they dispose of waste food properly.

Tips in the leaflet include:

  • Dispose of your waste food carefully and responsibly, when you’re at home or out and about
  • Ensure waste food is wrapped up before putting it in a litter bin or your home wheely bin
  • Don’t leave waste food hanging out of a bin
  • Never drop your waste food on the floor
  • Don’t overfill your bin so the lid can’t close properly
  • Don’t feed birds in parks, open spaces or on the street

Advice leaflets aimed at city businesses are also being distributed by Worcester BID and other organisations. They include tips on how to stop gulls nesting on the roofs of buildings and suggestions for how cafes and restaurants can deter the birds from swooping on their customers.

The City Council has also invested in gull-proof waste sacks, which will be distributed to city businesses by the BID.

New litter bins will be installed around the city centre in coming months, designed to stop gulls from getting in to pull out food.

The City Council, working with Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), is also extending the egg replacement programme that helps to control gull numbers. The realistic fake eggs are placed in gulls’ nests and the birds continue to sit on them, without laying a replacement. As a result, fewer chicks are hatched each year.

Since 2008 the number of breeding pairs of gulls in the city centre has fallen from 317 to 184, thanks in part to this egg replacement programme.

Do your bit!

·         Pick up a “Feed the bins not the gulls” leaflet from the TIC, The Hive, libraries and other locations across the city.

·         Download and display a “Feed the bins not the gulls” poster from www.worcester.gov.uk/gulls

·         Check out tips and advice for residents and businesses at www.worcester.gov.uk/gulls

·         Share the hashtag #DontFeedGulls and spread the word

Gull facts

·         Gulls have been populating urban areas since the 1960s. They are primarily attracted by the safe nesting sites on tall buildings and safety from predators

·         UK cities are typically 2-6 degrees warmer than gulls’ original coastal habitats. This means they can lay their eggs earlier in the breeding season

·         Gulls feed mainly on agricultural land but they are opportunist scavengers and will not pass up an opportunity to dine on discarded food waste.

·         The majority of gulls in Worcester are lesser black backed or herring gulls

·         Adult gulls can live for over 30 years

·         Gulls are at their most aggressive and noisy during July and August when they are protecting and feeding their chicks

·         Typically, three eggs are laid in each nest