A SUTHERLAND councillor will push for a seagull purge in her ward after hundreds of birds’ eggs and nests were destroyed in a major clampdown in Inverness.
Deirdre Mackay has campaigned for action about the menacing and aggravating gull population in the Brora area for five years.
Seagulls have attacked children and elderly people and caused significant mess and noise for local residents.
The birds have also wreaked a similar trail of havoc in the Highland capital and councillors agreed to spend up to £30,000 earlier this year on a 12-month pilot to remove eggs and nests to disrupt the gulls’ breeding patterns and cut down the numbers. Councillor Mackay would now like to see her East Sutherland and Edderton ward follow in Inverness’ footsteps and will lobby the local authority to investigate similar methods and possible funding.
Four-year-old Jordi Riddler was shocked when a seagull swooped down and swiped a sausage roll from his hand outside the family home at Victoria Drive, Brora, last year.
An elderly woman in a wheelchair and a paperboy have also been attacked in the past and a petition, signed by 400 people in Brora calling for action to stop the birds’ incessant screeching, was presented to Councillor Mackay in 2009.
Only last week, another woman was swooped on by a seagull at midnight in Golspie as she approached a house where chicks were nesting.
Mrs Mackay says she has taken a close interest in the steps being taken in Inverness.
“The birds are still a nuisance and we should do all in our power to get them back to their natural habitat – which is not housing estates,” she said.
“They are a real pest. This is not just a problem in Brora, it is the length and breadth of Britain.”
She said it was important residents knew that they themselves could remove nests and eggs from seagulls and a leaflet was published by the council last year offering guidance.
“The main initiative has been informing people that they can act and remove nests and eggs,” she said. “It might take about three years to break the (breeding) pattern.” Councillor Mackay said local roofers were already removing nests and eggs and added it was vital that residents did not leave food for the gulls to scavenge.
“We have local problems and it is related to people feeding them,” she said.
Specialist contractors have removed 620 nests and 1400 eggs so far from Inverness city centre and an industrial estate.
An average of two to three eggs are laid in each nest and workers have returned to the same ones because the birds will lay replacements.
The local authority estimated earlier this year there were between 650 to 700 breeding pairs of seagulls in Inverness.