The great Fife gull cull question

John Bruce and Gordon Langlands discuss the problems in Burntisland. Pic by Fife Photo Agency
John Bruce and Gordon Langlands discuss the problems in Burntisland. Pic by Fife Photo Agency

Winged menaces or protective parents? The seagull question is raging around Fife at the height of the nesting season.

Comments have flooded our Facebook page following last week’s story calling for Fife Council to take a stronger stance to reduce the problem in Kirkcaldy, which one person said had reached “tipping point.”

This week people in Burntisland joined the debate with other local councillors saying they had been inundated with complaints about the aggressive nature of the gulls.

Councillors Gordon Langlands and Kathleen Leslie said people had emailed, left comments on Facebook and stopped them in the street to voice their concerns.

And one local businessman in the town’s High Street is planning to put wooden spikes on his roof to stop the gulls from nesting, and is asking his neighbours if they would like to join him.

Councillor Langlands told the Press: “To date trying to keep rubbish to a minimum, using gull proof bins and other deterrents such as spikes on roofs has had minimal effect.

“Residents are asking for stronger action such as a cull of these very aggressive gulls.

“This is not just in Burntisland so I am asking for a cull and other options to be discussed at the August meeting of Fife Council’s environment committee.”

Pensioner Ann Michie (72), who lives in Church Grove says she is too scared to take her two Yorkshire terriers for a walk after being attacked twice in the past three weeks.

“I thought they were swooping down because of the dogs, but when I spoke to a lady in the street she said they were attacking everyone,” she said.

“I see people feeding them and think how stupid they are to encourage them.”

John Bruce, environment spokesman with Burntisland Community Council added: “A friend was walking along Broomhill Avenue and a seagull attacked him hitting his head and drawing blood, while other members of the public say they are frightened to walk along our streets for fear of being attacked.

“Something has to be done, and I would encourage people to stop feeding them. We could also consider the removal of their eggs or even a cull.

“They are only protecting their young but the aggression is becoming serious and someone is going to get injured.”

Animal Aid, one of the UK’s largest animal rights organisations, has written to Fife Council urging it not to seek licences to start a cull in the Lang Toun.

Campaigner Tod Bradbury insists such attacks “are very rare” and only happen when gulls protect their nests and their young.

He said: “Like all good parents, gulls will do anything to ensure their offspring are safe and protected.

‘‘As such, during nesting season – which happens to also coincide with many people’s summer holidays – gulls will ensure that any perceived threat to their children is seen off.

‘‘To cull animals for protecting their babies is ludicrous.”

Animal Aid has sent councillors copies of its bird advice sheet, which details the range of humane methods available to deter gull attacks, plus a copy of their report on alternatives to culling.

Facebook comments

Douglas Dickson: “Human minks who throw food waste on the ground instead of finding a bucket are the real vermin.”

Richy Curran: “Shoot them! There’s far too many.”

Angela Valente: “I couldn’t put my bins out the other night. They were flying very low.”

Beth Arthur: “Rats with wings. Should be culled as they are attacking people.”

Dougie Thomson: “A child will lose an eye before something is done about them.”

Louise Hunter: “Clean up the rubbish thrown on the streets and they will eventually stop coming.”

Tracy Stewart: “Heavily fine those who feed them, provide bird proof bins and cull them in the short term.”

Tricia Gray: “A trip to Shetland might be a lesson on how to co-exist without culling everything you don’t like.”