A COUNCIL has warned people not to feed seagulls after a spike in complaints about the noise and disruption caused by the birds.

Since lockdown was introduced, there has been a rise in the number of reports of gulls being fed.

This has led to a rise in the amount of discarded rubbish and even a breakdown in neighbourly relations.

Seagulls have also been known to attack people in a bid to steal food, while regular feeding at homes can lead to damage to roofs and gutters and blockages of gas flues by nesting materials.

According to experts, gulls snatching food is a behaviour learned and reinforced by being fed by the public.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds spokeswoman said: "If a gull feels that you're too close to its youngster, and so a potential threat, it will fly over you at great speed and alarmingly close - rarely making contact the first time. This is a warning - it's meant to frighten you into backing off.

"We must all stop feeding gulls both inland and in seaside towns and in our gardens if we want to recondition their behaviour.

"A gull can't discern between a sausage roll dropped on the floor for free-picking and the one you're unwrapping for lunch in the local park."

The Argus: The public have been advised not to feed gullsThe public have been advised not to feed gulls

The three breeds of gulls that are commonly found in urban environments are the herring gull, great black-backed gull and the lesser black-backed gulls.

The RSPCA says the best and most humane way of discouraging home nesting is to use simple wire-frame structures around chimney pots and anti-perching devices such as spines, which should be fitted professionally.

The noisiest time of the year for gulls is the breeding season, which takes place between May and July. The best way to avoid disturbances like this is by taking action in the winter to limit the opportunity for gulls to nest or settle on your property.

A spokesman for Adur and Worthing Councils said: "Gulls are iconic to seaside towns like Worthing, and as a nation of animal lovers, the councils here understand people may be thinking they are doing the right thing by feeding gulls.

"But we are getting multiple complaints about people excessively feeding seagulls at their home addresses, and this is dangerous for gulls and their nutritional benefit as the food they are being given is not their natural diet.

"The message from Adur and Worthing Councils is that it really isn't a good idea to feed seagulls and because of the problems it causes both them and us."

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