Sunday, July 9, 2017

Gulls moving to the city

For years now, it has been common to see gulls in London and in many other towns and cities in England. Commonly, but wrongly known as seagulls, these birds should, as the name suggests, live by the sea. So I was interested to read a recent article on BBC website, 'have seagulls abandoned the sea'.

There are gulls all over London, especially in the centre. One vivid memory is arriving at Heathrow airport early morning in 2009, taking the underground to Leicester Square and as I came out of the station at 7 am I could hear and see lots of gulls flying around. There seem to be more in the city than in the suburbs.

The most common gull is the herring gull. It has a snowy white head and body with grey wings and a yellowish beak. I don't seem to have any photos of gulls in London. Herring gull at Canterbury :

There are still gulls at Brighton. On the pier, they hang out by the fish and chips cafes and other eating places

In the town, they cool off in the fountain

A gull in Portugal,

In Canada

And in Alesund, Norway

Read more on BBC Magazine 2012 "Who What Why: Why are there so many seagulls in cities?" and ITV News 2016 "Seagulls causing north London residents' lives hell".

Some towns are now using birds of prey to try and tackle the seagull problem, especially where seagulls "attack" humans for food, e.g. people who come out of chip shops and the gulls attack. See Yorkshire Post 'Birds of prey to tackle Yorkshire coast's problem gulls'. Plymouth and Bath also use birds of prey. In Bath, people want the gulls culls as the gulls carry harmful bacteria.

Looks like gulls are taking over!!!


Shortly after posting this blog, I went to the Tower of London. The Tower is quite well known for the ravens that live there, there is a rumour that if they ever leave, the Tower and the country will 'fall'. Consequently the ravens are well looked after. So I was amused to see a solitary gull eating some meat that was put out for the ravens. As there was only one, I wonder if they normally get chased away.

2nd UPDATE -

BBC Blog Springwatch 26 July 2017 has an interesting article, There's no such thing as a "sea gull". It says that Britain has six of the world's 50 species of gull :
herring gulls
lesser black-backed gulls
great black-backed gulls
black-headed gulls
common gulls

And it is the herring gull that is most common and are now drawn to our towns and cities due to an abundance of nesting sites and food and relative lack of predators.


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