Rubbish, not nests, attracts gulls, research finds

Gulls are attracted to cities not because of better nest sites, but because of food availability.

That’s the conclusion of recent Dutch research into human-gull conflict in cities, published in the journal Bird Study by a team from Buijs Eco Consult BV and Utrecht University.

Following flocks of gulls around the Hague, and recording their behaviour at various points in the breeding season, the team found that most nuisance events occurred after chicks had been hatched, in areas where rubbish was available.

The team concluded that if we want to deter human-gull conflict in cities, then making food less accessible should be more effective than removing opportunities for rooftop nesting.