Gulls are members of a large, widespread family of seabirds generally identified as seagulls although there is no species actually called a seagull. Gulls are intelligent, adaptable, beautiful birds but be careful not to feed them or they will be happy to steal your lunch! In Ireland all gulls and their active nests are protected by National and European Wildlife Legislation/Directives.
The main gulls found in Ireland are:
Herring gull Larus argentatus
Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus
Biology & Behaviour
Once a breeding site is chosen, gulls will usually return to it every year. They begin breeding when they are around five years old and have a lifespan of up to 25 years!
Eggs are laid in April and May, with up to three eggs being laid per season. The eggs hatch after around 30 days, and only 10 days after that, they can take their first flight.
Opportunist gulls make their nest on buildings and regularly feed from refuse tips, particularly in the winter. They fly huge distances for food, which they often find at landfill sites, sewage outlets, agricultural land, and by scavenging from urban areas. During the winter, neighbouring gulls from Europe and further afield migrate to the UK.
Management & Control
There are lots of ways to stop gulls from nesting on your property. These include proofing measures such as netting, sprung and parallel wires or bird spikes. Gulls can be huge so the equipment involved in keeping them out of somewhere needs to be robust and heavy duty. Electric ledge deterrents, audio deterrents and regularly flying birds of prey can all scare away gulls from sites.