As we all wade our way through this soaking wet winter, bird control specialists all over the country are looking forward to this summer’s Seagull season. Find out more about how businesses in the summer months are especially at risk from the adverse effects of the growing urban Seagull population. Both property damage and illness are real threats that can impact profits and reputations.
Here at Timorous Beastie, we have compiled the top 6 ways Seagulls can damage your business (and health) so that you know what to look for and what steps to take if you are experiencing unwelcome guests on your roof.
1 Phyical Harm
Following the Seagull mating season in early spring the females begin to lay their eggs in May. It is at this point that their protective and territorial instincts kick in and they begin to exhibit aggressive dive-bombing behavior. They swoop, dive, vomit, and defecate on anyone (humans or animals) that they perceive as a threat to their young, causing significant anxiety and injury to the general public.
2 Roof Damage
Seagulls are a monogamous species, living with the same mate for over 30 years. They also have what is known as ‘high nest fidelity’, meaning that when they choose a location to nest, they return year after year. Unfortunately, if these birds choose to nest on the roof of your business they can cause significant damage. They love to pick away at slates, grouting, or other materials, causing them to loosen and fall off.
3 Damage to gas flues and chimneys
On top of slate damage, Seagulls can create problems for properties with chimneys and gas flues, blocking them up with debris and other nesting materials. This not only causes damage but it can prevent the correct amount of ventilation from entering your building, putting your customer’s and employee’s health at risk.
4 Gutter damage
Seagulls like to keep their nests properly heated and maintained throughout the cold and windy spring months. As they pick and throw away moss, grass, and other material they can fill your property’s gutters and prevent adequate drainage. Left unchecked, this kind of blockage can lead to water damage and even penetrating damp.
5 Health and hygiene
On top of the Seagull’s dive-bombing behavior and the property damage they can cause, the birds can also bring bacteria and infectious diseases to your business. This is mainly because Seagulls no longer feed on the natural environment, eating and spreading city waste around their nesting areas. Birds bringing debris from landfill sites, street litter, and business refuge into public areas can spread diseases if their feces come into contact with humans. These include;
- Coli – leading painful gastroenteritis and septicemia
- Fungal infection – Histoplasmosis and Cryptococcosis can be carried in bird droppings
- Salmonella – This is another serious illness that can lead to Salmonellosis and in some cases death
- Ornithosis – Also known as Parrot fever is an infection that can cause flu-like symptoms, meningitis or lead to a coma
6 Lost Reputation
With more and, more Seagulls are making the trip inwards to our cities and towns the general public are becoming more aware of their aggressive behavior and potential health ill-effects. As a result, having Seagulls on your property may scare your customers away, negatively affecting your reputation and driving down your revenue.
What can be done?
Although there has been a noticeable rise in the number of Seagulls in our towns and cities their overall population is in fact dropping. In response the authorities have deemed that the Seagull (or Herring Gull) is now a protected species, placing legal restrictions on their control. However, some licensed professional bird control specialists are able to remove nests and eggs if it is appropriate. Before things get to this stage there are some DIY steps you can take to prevent a Seagull problem from occurring in the first place;
Do not let customers or employees feed Seagulls as this will attract more and more to your area.
You should dispose of commercial refuge in the correct containers to prevent the Gulls from seeing your site as an easy feeding ground.
If Seagulls are on private property it is the responsibility of the owner to take the necessary action to have the nests removed.