Councils may use contraceptive pill to control aggressive gulls
Councillors in a Devon town are looking into methods of controlling menacing seagulls – including giving the scavenging birds a contraceptive pill.
Seagulls have caused havoc in towns across Devon this summer and it would seem councils across the county are looking into ways of controlling the problem.
According to the local councillor Percy Prowse, the gulls in King Street, Exeter have been paying attention in lectures and acquired the knowledge necessary to open seagull proof sacks.
Residents were to put their black rubbish bags into the dustbins until the day of collection but the bags were magnets for the gulls and the result was a mess.
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Ilfracombe town and district councillor Paul Crabb told The North Devon journal he had looked at many ways of controlling gulls.
“I have asked The Milky Way about borrowing a hawk,” he said, “but kestrels are too small and they won’t risk a Harris hawk in an urban environment.
“The only vague successes are feeding them ‘the pill’ but I am in contact with other councils about the effectiveness. Overall, the seagull is a magnificently intelligent bird that we have taught to be a nuisance.”
The RSPCA is urging people to have a greater tolerance of Devon seagulls this summer.
Adam Grogan, senior scientist for the RSPCA, said: "All it takes is a little care and understanding to minimise any inconvenience caused by gulls – they are normally just behaving in a natural way.
"For instance, you can't blame them for not knowing the difference between scraps willingly offered and your own bag of chips. They are simply wild animals following their instincts to find food.
"They don't necessarily know that their nest is blocking your gas flue and like any protective mum, their swooping is often just a way of keeping their babies safe.
"The RSPCA believes that deterrents and non-lethal methods of control are far better at helping to reduce problems. Not feeding the gulls and disposing of rubbish properly is one thing we can all do to prevent gulls from causing a nuisance."